Swiss Family Robinson

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					Swiss Family Robinson

    By: Johann David Wyss
        First published in 1812
                                                 Chapter 1

For many days we had been tempest-tossed. Six times had the darkness closed over a wild and terrific scene,
and returning light as often brought but renewed distress, for the raging storm increased in fury until on the
seventh day all hope was lost.
We were driven completely out of our course; no conjecture could be formed as to our whereabouts. The crew
had lost heart, and was utterly exhausted by incessant labor. The riven masts had gone by the board, leaks had
been sprung in every direction, and the water, which rushed in, gained upon us rapidly.
Instead of reckless oaths, the seamen now uttered frantic cries to God for mercy, mingled with strange and often
ludicrous vows, to be performed should deliverance be granted. Every man on board alternately commended his
soul to his Creator, and strove to bethink himself of some means of saving his life.
My heart sank as I looked round upon my family in the midst of these horrors. Our four young sons were
overpowered by terror. `Dear children,' said I, `if the Lord will, He can save us even from this fearful peril; if
not, let us calmly yield our lives into His hand, and think of the joy and blessedness of finding ourselves for
ever and ever united in that happy home above. Even death is not too bitter, when it does not separate those
Who love one another.'
At these words my weeping wife looked bravely up, and, as the boys clustered round her, she began to cheer
and encourage them with calm and loving words. I rejoiced to see her fortitude, though my heart was ready to
break as I gazed on my dear ones.
We knelt down together, one after another praying with deep earnestness and emotion. Fritz, in particular,
besought help and deliverance for his dear parents and brothers, as though quite forgetting himself. Our hearts
were soothed by the never failing comfort of child-like confiding prayer, and the horrors of our situation seemed
less overwhelming. `Ah,' thought I, 'the Lord will hear our prayer! He will help us.'
Amid the roar of the thundering waves I suddenly heard the cry of `Land! land!', while at the same instant the
ship struck with a frightful shock, which threw everyone to the deck, and seemed to threaten her immediate
destruction. Dreadful sounds betokened the breaking up of the ship, and the roaring waters poured in on
All sides.
Then the voice of the captain was heard above the tumult, shouting, `Lower away the boats! We are lost!'
'Lost!' I exclaimed, and the word went like a dagger to my heart; but seeing my children's terror renewed, I
composed myself, calling out cheerfully, 'Take courage, my boys! We are all above water yet. There is the land
not far off, let us do our best to reach it. You know God helps those that help themselves! Remain with your
mother, while I go on deck to see what is best to be done now.' With that, I left them and went on deck.
A wave instantly threw me down; another followed, and then another, as I contrived to find my footing. The
ship was shattered on all directions, and on one side there was a large hole in the hull. Forgetting the
passengers, the ship's company crowded into the lifeboats, and the last who entered cut the davit ropes to cast
each boat into the sea.
What was my horror when through the foam and spray I beheld the last remaining boat leave the ship, the last of
the seamen spring into her and push off, regardless of my cries and entreaties that we might be allowed to share
their slender chance of preserving their lives. My voice was drowned in the howling of the blast, and even had
the crew wished it, the return of the boat was impossible, for the waves were mountain-high.
Casting my eyes despairingly around, I became gradually aware that our position was by no means hopeless,
inasmuch as the stern of the ship containing our cabin was jammed between two high rocks, and was partly
raised from among the breakers which dashed the fore-part to pieces. As the clouds of mist and rain drove past,
I could make out, through rents in the vaporous curtain, a line of rocky coast, and, rugged as it was, my heart
bounded towards it as a sign of help in the hour of need.
Yet the sense of our lonely and forsaken condition weighed heavily upon me as I returned to my family,
constraining myself to say with a smile, `Courage, dear ones! Although our good ship will never sail more, she
is so placed that our cabin will remain above water, and tomorrow, if the wind and waves abate, I see no
reason why we should not be able to get ashore.'
These few words had an immediate effect on the spirits of my children, for my family had the habit of trusting
in my assurances. The boys at once regarded our problematical chance of escaping as a happy certainty, and
began to enjoy the relief from the violent pitching and rolling of the vessel.
My wife, however, perceived my distress and anxiety in spite of my forced composure, and I made her
comprehend our real situation, greatly fearing the effect of the intelligence on her nerves. Not for a moment did
her courage and trust in Providence forsake her, and on seeing this, my fortitude revived.
'We must find some food, and take a good supper,' said she, 'It will never do to grow faint by fasting too long.
We shall require our utmost strength tomorrow.'
Night drew on apace, the storm was as fierce as ever, and at intervals we were startled by crashes announcing
further damage to our unfortunate ship. We thought of the lifeboats, and feared that all they contained must
have sunk under the foaming waves.
'God will help us soon now, won't He, father?' said my youngest child.
'You silly little thing,' said Fritz, my eldest son, sharply, 'don't you know that we must not settle what God is to
do for us? We must have patience and wait His time.'
'Very well said, had it been said kindly, Fritz, my boy. You too often speak harshly to your brothers, although
you may not mean to do so.'
A good meal being now ready, my youngsters ate heartily, and retiring to rest were speedily fast asleep. Fritz,
who was of an age to be aware of the real danger we were in, kept watch with us. After a long silence, `Father,'
said he, 'don't you think we might contrive swimming-belts for mother and the boys? With those we might all
escape to land, for you and I can swim.'
'Your idea is so good,' answered I, 'that I shall arrange something at once, in case of an accident during the
We immediately searched about for what would answer the purpose, and fortunately got hold of a number of
empty flasks and tin canisters, which we connected two and two together so as to form floats sufficiently
buoyant to support a person in the water, and my wife and young sons each willingly put one on. I then
provided myself with matches, dry tinder, knives, cord, and other portable articles, trusting that, should the
vessel go to pieces before daylight, we might gain the shore, not wholly destitute.
Fritz, as well as his brothers, now slept soundly. Throughout the night my wife and I maintained our prayerful
watch, dreading at every fresh sound some fatal change in the position of the wreck.
At length the faint dawn of day appeared, the long weary night was over, and with thankful hearts we perceived
that the gale had begun to moderate; blue sky was seen above us, and the lovely hues of sunrise adorned the
eastern horizon.
I aroused the boys, and we assembled on the remaining portion of the deck, when they, to their surprise,
discovered that no one else was on board.
'Hallo, papa! What has become of everybody? Are the sailors gone? Have they taken away the boats? Oh, papa!
why did they leave us behind? What can we do by ourselves!'
`My good children,' I replied, `we must not despair, although we seem deserted. See how those on whose skill
and good faith we depended have left us cruelly to our fate in the hour of danger. God will never do so. He has
not forsaken us, and we will trust Him still. Only let us bestir ourselves, and each cheerily do his best. Who has
anything to propose?'
'The sea will soon be calm enough for swimming,' said Fritz. 'And that would be all very fine for you,'
exclaimed Ernest, 'for you can swim, but think of mother and the rest of us! Why not build a raft and all get on
shore together?'
'We should find it difficult, I think, to make a raft that would carry us safe to shore. However, we must contrive
something, and first let each try to procure what will be of most use to us.'
Away we all went to see what was to be found, I myself proceeding to examine, as of greatest consequence, the
supplies of provisions and fresh water within our reach.
My wife took her youngest son, Franz, to help her to attend to the unfortunate animals on board, who were in a
pitiful plight, having been neglected for several days.
Fritz hastened to the arms chest, Ernest to look for tools; and Jack went towards the captain's cabin, the door of
which he no sooner opened, than out sprang two splendid large dogs, who testified their extreme delight and
gratitude by such tremendous bounds that they knocked their little deliverer completely head over heels,
frightening him nearly out of his wits.
Jack did not long yield either to fear or anger, he presently recovered himself, the dogs seemed to ask pardon by
vehemently licking his face and hands, and so, seizing the larger by the ears, he jumped on his back, and, to my
great amusement, coolly rode to meet me as I came up the hatchway. I could not refrain from laughing at the
site, and I praised his courage, but warned him to be cautious and remember that animals of this species might,
in a state of hunger, be dangerous.
When we reassembled in the cabin, we all displayed our treasures.
Fritz brought a couple of guns, shot belt, powder-flasks, and plenty of bullets.
Ernest produced a cap full of nails, a pair of large scissors, an axe, and a hammer, while pincers, chisels and
augers stuck out of all his pockets.
Even little Franz carried a box of no small size, and eagerly began to show us the 'nice sharp little hooks' it
contained. His brothers smiled scornfully.
'Well, done, Franz!' cried I, 'these fish hooks, which you the youngest have found, may contribute more than
anything else in the ship to save our lives by procuring food for us. Fritz and Ernest, you have chosen well.'
`Will you praise me too?' said my dear wife. 'I have nothing to show, but I can give you good news. Some
useful animals are still alive: a donkey, two goats, six sheep, a ram, and a cow and a fine sow both big with
young. I was but just in time to save their lives by taking food to them. The goats I milked, though I do not
know how I shall preserve the milk in this dreadful heat.'
'All these things are excellent indeed,' said I, 'but my friend Jack here has presented me with a couple of huge
hungry useless dogs, who will eat more than any of us.' 'Oh, papa! They will be of use! Why, they will help us
to hunt when we get on shore!'
'No doubt they will, if ever we do get on shore, Jack; but I must say I don't know how it is to be done.'
'Can't we each get into a big tub, and float there?' returned he. `I have often sailed splendidly like that, round the
pond at home.'
'My child, you have hit on a capital idea,' cried I. 'That is certainly worth trying. Now, Ernest, let me have your
tools, hammers, nails, saws, augers, and all; and then make haste to collect any tubs you can find!'
We very soon found four large casks, made of sound wood and strongly bound with iron hoops; they were
floating with many other things in the water in the hold, but we managed to fish them out, and place them on the
lower deck, which was at that time scarcely above water. They were exactly what I wanted, and I succeeded in
sawing them across the middle. Hard work it was, and we were glad enough to stop and refresh ourselves with
goat's milk, wine, and biscuits.
My eight tubs now stood ranged in a row near the water's edge, and I looked at them with great satisfaction; to
my surprise, my wife did not seem to share my pleasure!
`I shall never,' said she, `muster courage to get into one of these!'
`Do not be too sure of that, dear wife; when you see my contrivance completed, you will perhaps prefer it to this
immovable wreck.'
I next procured a long thin plank on which my tubs could be fixed, and the two ends of this I bent upwards so as
to form a keel. Other two planks were nailed along the sides of the tubs; they, also being flexible, were brought
to a point at each end, and all firmly secured and nailed together, producing a kind of narrow boat, divided into
eight compartments, which I had no doubt would float adequately in calm water. But when we thought
all was ready for the launch, we found, to our dismay, that the grand contrivance was so heavy and clumsy that
even our united efforts could not move it an inch.
'I must have a lever,' cried I. `Run and fetch the capstan bar!'
Fritz quickly brought one and, having formed rollers by cutting up a long spar, I raised the forepart of my boat
with the bar, and my sons placed a roller under it.
'How is it, father,' inquired Ernest, `that with that thing you alone can do more than all of us together?'
I explained, as well as I could in a hurry, the principle of Archimedes' lever; from which he said he could move
the world if he had a point from which his mechanism might operate, and promised to have a long talk on the
subject of mechanics when we should be safe on land.
I now made fast a long rope to the stern of our boat, attaching the other end to a beam; then placing a second
and third roller under it, we once more began to push, this time with success, and soon our gallant craft was
safely launched: so swiftly indeed did she glide into the water that, if the rope had not been well secured, she
would have passed beyond our reach. The boys wished to jump in directly; but, alas, she leaned so much on one
side that they could not venture to do so.
Some heavy things being thrown in, however, the boat righted itself by degrees, and the boys were so delighted
that they struggled which should first leap in to have the fun of sitting down in the tubs. But it was plain to me
at once that something more was required to make her perfectly safe, so I contrived outriggers to preserve the
balance, by nailing long poles across at the stem and stern, and fixing at the ends of each empty brandy cask.
Then, the boat appearing steady, I got in; and turning it towards the most open side of the wreck, I cut and
cleared away obstructions, so as to leave a free passage for our departure, and the boys brought oars to be ready
for the voyage. This important undertaking we were forced to postpone until the next day, as it was by this time
far too late to attempt it.
It was not pleasant to have to spend another night in so precarious a situation; but, yielding to necessity, we sat
down to enjoy a comfortable supper, for during our exciting and incessant work all day we had taken nothing
but an occasional biscuit and a little wine.
We prepared for rest in a much happier frame of mind than on the preceding day, but I did not forget the
possibility of a renewed storm, and therefore made every one put on the belts as before. I persuaded my wife
(not without considerable difficulty), to put on a sailor's dress, assuring her she would find it much more
comfortable and convenient for all she would have to go through.
She at last consented to do this, and left us for a short time, reappearing with much embarrassment and many
blushes, in a most becoming suit, which she had found in a midshipman's chest. We all admired her costume,
and any awkwardness she felt soon began to pass off; then we retired to our hammocks, where peaceful
sleep prepared us all for the exertions of the coming day.
We rose up betimes, for sleep weighs lightly on the hopeful as well as on the anxious. After kneeling together in
prayer, `Now my beloved ones,' said I, `with God's help we are about to effect our escape. Let the poor animals
we must leave behind, be well fed, and put plenty of fodder within their reach: in a few days we may be able to
return, and save them likewise. After that, collect everything you can think of which may be of use to us.'
The boys joyfully obeyed me; and I selected, from the large quantity of stores they got together, canvas to make
a tent, a chest of carpenter's tools, guns, pistols, powder, shot, and bullets, rods and fishing tackle, an iron pot, a
case of portable soup and another of biscuit. These useful articles of course took the place of the ballast I had
hastily thrown in the day before; even so, the boys had brought so many things that we were obliged to leave
some of them for a future trip.
With a hearty prayer for God's blessing, we now began to take our seats, each in his tub. Just then we heard the
cocks begin to crow and the chickens to cackle, as though to reproach us for deserting them.
`Why should not the fowls go with us!' exclaimed I. `If we find no food for them, they can be food for us!' Ten
hens and a couple of cocks were accordingly placed in one of the tubs, and secured with some wire-netting over
The ducks and geese were set at liberty, and took to the water at once, while the pigeons, rejoicing to find
themselves on the wing, swiftly made for the shore. My wife, who managed all this for me, kept us waiting for
her some little time, and came at last with a bag as big as a pillow in her arms. `This is my contribution,' said
she, throwing the bag to little Franz, to be, as I thought, a cushion for him to sit upon, or to protect himself from
being tossed from side to side.
All being ready, we cast off, and moved away from the wreck. My good, brave wife sat in the first compartment
of the boat; next her was Franz, a sweet-tempered, affectionate little boy, nearly six years old. Then came Fritz,
a handsome, spirited young fellow of fourteen; the two centre tubs contained the valuable cargo; then came our
bold, thoughtless Jack, ten years old; next him twelve-year-old Ernest, my second son, intelligent, well-iformed,
and rather indolent. I myself, the anxious, loving father, stood in the stern, endeavouring to guide the raft with
its precious burden to a safe landing-place.
The elder boys took the oars; everyone wore a float belt, and had something useful close to him in case of being
thrown into the water.
The tide was flowing, which was a great help to the young oarsmen. We emerged from the wreck and glided
into the open sea. All eyes were strained to get a full view of the land, and the boys pulled with a will; but for
some time we made no progress, as the boat kept turning round and round, until I hit upon the right way to
steer it, after which we merrily made for the shore.
We had left the two dogs, Turk and Juno, on the wreck, as being both large mastiffs we did not care to have
their additional weight on board our craft; but when they saw us apparently deserting them, they set up a piteous
howl, and sprang into the sea. I was sorry to see this, for the distance to the land was so great that I scarcely
expected them to be able to accomplish it. They followed us, however, and, occasionally resting their fore-paws
on the outriggers, kept up with us well. Jack was inclined to deny them this their only chance of safety.
`Stop,' said I, `that would be unkind as well as foolish; remember, the merciful man regardeth the life of his
beast. God has given the dog to man to be his faithful companion and friend.'
Our passage, though tedious, was safe; but the nearer we approached the shore the less inviting it appeared; the
barren rocks seemed to threaten us with misery and want.
Many casks, boxes and bales of goods floated on the water around us. Fritz and I managed to secure a couple of
hogsheads, so as to tow them alongside. With the prospect of famine before us, it was desirable to lay hold of
anything likely to contain provisions.
By-and-by we began to perceive that, between and beyond the cliffs, green grass and trees were discernible.
Fritz could distinguish many tall palms, and Ernest hoped they would prove to be cocoanut trees, and enjoyed
the thoughts of drinking the refreshing milk.
`I am very sorry I never thought of bringing away the captain's telescope,' said I.
`Oh, look here, father!' cried Jack, drawing a little spy-glass joyfully out of his pocket.
By means of this glass, I made out that at some distance to the left the coast was much more inviting; a strong
current however carried us directly towards the frowning rocks, but I presently observed an opening, where a
stream flowed into the sea, and saw that our geese and ducks were swimming towards this place. I steered after
them into the creek, and we found ourselves in a small bay or inlet where the water was perfectly smooth and of
moderate depth. The ground sloped gently upwards from the low banks to the cliffs which here retired inland,
leaving a small plain, on which it was easy for us to land. Everyone sprang gladly out of the boat but little
Franz, who, lying packed in his tub like a potted shrimp, had to be lifted out by his mother.
The dogs had scrambled on shore before us; they received us with loud barking and the wildest demonstrations
of delight. The chickens, geese and ducks kept up an incessant din, added to which was the screaming and
croaking of flamingoes and penguins, whose dominion we were invading. The noise was deafening, but far
from unwelcome to me, as I thought of the good dinners the birds might furnish.
As soon as we could gather our children around us on dry land, we knelt to offer thanks and praise for our
merciful escape, and with full hearts we commended ourselves to God's good keeping for the time to come. All
hands then briskly fell to the work of unloading, and, oh, how rich we felt ourselves as we did so!
The poultry we left at liberty to forage for themselves, and set about finding a suitable place to erect a tent in
which to pass the night. This we speedily did; thrusting a long spar into a hole in the rock, and supporting the
other end by a pole firmly planted in the ground, we formed a framework over which we stretched the sailcloth
we had brought; besides fastening this down with pegs, we placed our heavy chests and boxes on the border of
the canvas, and arranged hooks so as to be able to close up the entrance during the night.
When this was accomplished, the boys ran to collect moss and grass, to spread in the tent for our beds, while I
arranged a fireplace, surrounded by large flat stones, near the brook which flowed close by. Dry twigs and
seaweed were soon in a blaze on the hearth, I filled the iron pot with water, and after I gave
my wife several cakes of the portable soup, she established herself as our cook, with little Franz to help her.
He, thinking his mother was melting some glue for carpentry, was eager to know `what papa was going to make
`This is to be soup for your dinner, my child. Do you think these cakes look like glue?'
`Yes, indeed I do!' replied Franz, `And I should not much like to taste glue soup! Don't you want some beef or
mutton, Mamma?'
`Where can I get it, dear?' said she, `we are a long way from a butcher's shop! But these cakes are made of the
juice of good meat, boiled till it becomes a strong stiff jelly--people take them when they go to sea, because on
a long voyage they can only have salt meat, which will not make nice soup.'
Fritz, leaving a loaded gun with me, took another himself, and went along the rough coast to see what lay
beyond the stream; this fatiguing sort of walk not suiting Ernest's fancy, he sauntered down to the beach, and
Jack scrambled among the rocks searching for shellfish.
I was anxious to land the two casks which were floating alongside our boat, but on attempting to do so, I found
that I could not get them up the bank on which we had landed, and was therefore obliged to look for a more
convenient spot. As I did so, I was startled by hearing Jack shouting for help, as though in great danger. He was
at some distance, and I hurried towards him with a hatchet in my hand.
The little fellow stood screaming in a deep pool, and as I approached, I saw that a huge lobster had caught his
leg in its powerful claw. Poor Jack was in a terrible fright; kick as he would, his enemy still clung on. I waded
into the water, and seizing the lobster firmly by the back, managed to make it loosen its hold, and we brought it
safe to land.
Jack, having speedily recovered his spirits, and anxious to take such a prize to his mother, caught the lobster in
both hands, but instantly received such a severe blow from its tail, that he flung it down, and passionately hit the
creature with a large stone.
This display of temper vexed me. `You are acting in a very childish way, my son,' said I. `Never strike an
enemy in a revengeful spirit, or when the enemy is unable to defend itself. The lobster, it is true, gave you a
bite, but then you, on your part, intend to eat the lobster. So the game is at least equal. Next time, be both more
prudent and more merciful.'
Once more lifting the lobster, Jack ran triumphantly towards the tent. `Mother, mother! A lobster! A lobster,
Ernest! Look here, Franz! Mind, he'll bite you! Where's Fritz?' All came crowding round Jack and his prize,
wondering at its unusual size, and Ernest wanted his mother to make lobster soup directly, by adding it to what
she was now boiling.
She, however, begged to decline making any such experiment, and said she preferred cooking one dish at a
time. Having remarked that the scene of Jack's adventure afforded a convenient place for getting my casks on
shore, I returned thither and succeeded in drawing them up on the beach, where I set them on end, and
for the present left them.
On my return I resumed the subject of Jack's lobster, and told him he should have the offending claw all to
himself when it was ready to be eaten, congratulating him on being the first to discover anything useful.
`As to that,' said Ernest, `I found something very good to eat, as well as Jack, only I could not get at them
without wetting my feet.'
`Pooh!' cried Jack, `I know what he saw--nothing but some nasty
mussels--I saw hem too. Who wants to eat trash like that! Lobster for me!'
`I believe them to be oysters, not mussels,' returned Ernest calmly. "They were stuck to the rocks, so I am sure
they are oysters."
`Be good enough, my philosophical young friend, to fetch a few specimens of these oysters in time for our next
meal,' said I. `We must all exert ourselves, Ernest, for the common good, and pray never let me hear you object
to wetting your feet. See how quickly the sun has dried Jack and me.'
`I can bring some salt at the same time,' said Ernest, `I remarked a good deal lying in the crevices of the rocks; it
tasted very pure and good, and I concluded it was produced by the evaporation of sea water in the sun.'
`Extremely probable, learned sir,' cried I, `but if you had brought a bag full of this good salt instead of merely
speculating so profoundly on the subject, it would have been more to the purpose. Run and fetch some directly.'
It proved to be salt sure enough, although so impure that it seemed useless, till my wife dissolved and strained
it, when it became fit to put in the soup.
`Why not use the sea-water itself?' asked Jack.
`Because,' said Ernest, `it is not only salt, but bitter too. Just try it.'
`Now,' said my wife, tasting the soup with the stick with which she had been stirring it, `dinner is ready, but
where can Fritz be?' she continued, a little anxiously. `And how are we to eat our soup when he does come?' she
continued. `We have neither plates nor spoons. Why did we not remember to bring some from the ship?'
"Because, my dear, one cannot think of everything at once. We shall be fortunate if we do not find even more
things we have forgotten."
"But we can scarcely lift the boiling pot to our mouths," she said.
I was forced to agree. We all looked upon the pot with perplexity, rather like the fox in the fable, to whom the
stork served up a dinner in a jug with a long neck. Silence was at length broken, when all of us burst into hearty
laughter at our own folly in not remembering that spoons and forks were things of absolute necessity.
`Oh, for a few cocoanut shells!' sighed Ernest.
`Oh, for half a dozen plates and as many silver spoons!' rejoined I, smiling.
`Really though, oyster-shells would do,' said he, after a moment's thought.
`True, that is an idea worth having! Off with you, my boys, get the oysters and clean out a few shells. And none
of you must complain because the spoons have no handles, and we grease our fingers a little in baling the soup
Jack was away and up to his knees in the water in a moment detaching the oysters. Ernest followed more
leisurely, and still unwilling to wet his feet, stood by the margin of the pool and gathered in his handkerchief the
oysters his brother threw him; as he thus stood he picked up and pocketed a large mussel shell for his own use.
As they returned with a good supply we heard a shout from Fritz in the distance; we returned it joyfully, and
he presently appeared before us, his hands behind his back, and a look of disappointment upon his countenance.
`Unsuccessful!' said he.
`Really!' I replied. `Never mind, my boy, better luck next time.'
`Oh, Fritz!' exclaimed his brothers who had looked behind him. 'A sucking-pig, a little sucking-pig. Where did
you get it? How did you shoot it? Do let us see it!'
Fritz then with sparkling eyes exhibited his prize.
`I am glad to see the result of your prowess, my boy,' said I; `but I cannot approve of deceit, even as a joke;
stick to the truth in jest and earnest.'
Fritz then told us how he had been to the other side of the stream. 'So different from this,' he said, `it is really a
beautiful country, and the shore, which runs down to the sea in a gentle slope, is covered with all sorts of useful
things from the wreck. Do let us go and collect them. And, father, why should we not return to the wreck and
bring off some of the animals? Just think of what value the cow would be to us, and what a pity it would be
to lose her. Let us get her on shore, and we will move over the stream, where she will have good pasturage, and
we shall be in the shade instead of on this desert, and, father, I do wish--'
`Stop, stop, my boy!' cried I. `All will be done in good time. Tomorrow and the day after will bring work of
their own. And tell me, did you see no traces of our shipmates?'
`Not a sign of them, either on land or sea, living or dead,' he replied.
'But the sucking-pig,' said Jack, `where did you get it?'
'It was one of several,' said Fritz, `which I found on the shore; along with some very curious little animals that
hopped rather than walked, and every now and then would squat down on their hind legs and rub their snouts
with their forepaws. Had not I been afraid of losing all, I would have tried to catch one alive, they seemed so
tame. But this was more easily taken.'
Meanwhile, Ernest had been carefully examining the animal in question.
`This is no pig,' he said, `and except for its bristly skin, does not look like one. See, its teeth are not like those of
a pig, but rather those of a squirrel. In fact,' he continued, looking at Fritz, `your sucking-pig is an agouti.'
`Dear me,' said Fritz, `listen to the great professor lecturing! He is going to prove that a pig is not a pig!'
`You need not be so quick to laugh at your brother,' said I, in my turn, `he is quite right. I, too, know the agouti
by descriptions and pictures, and there is little doubt that this is a specimen. The little animal makes its nest
under the roots of trees, and lives upon fruit. Its meat is white but dry, having no fat, and never entirely loses a
certain wild flavour, which is disagreeable to Europeans. It is held in great esteem by the natives where
it lives, especially when the animal has been feeding near the sea on plants impregnated with salt. But, Ernest,
the agouti not only looks something like a pig, but most decidedly grunts like a porker.'
While we were thus talking, Jack had been vainly endeavouring to open an oyster with his large knife. `Here is
a simpler way,' said I, placing an oyster on the fire; it immediately opened.
`Now,' I continued, `who will try this delicacy?' All at first hesitated to partake of them, so unattractive did they
appear. Jack, however, tightly closing his eyes and making a face as though about to take medicine, gulped one
down. We followed his example, one after the other, each doing so rather to provide himself with a spoon than
with any hope of cultivating a taste for oysters.
Our spoons were now ready, and gathering round the pot we dipped them in, not, however, without sundry
scalded fingers. Ernest then drew from his pocket the large shell he had procured for his own use, and scooping
up a good quantity of soup he put it down to cool, smiling at his own foresight.
`Prudence should be exercised for others, not just for oneself,' I remarked. `Are you so much better than your
brothers? Your cool soup will do capitally for the dogs, my boy; take it to them, and then come and eat like the
rest of us.'
Ernest winced at this, but silently taking up his shell he placed it on the ground before the hungry dogs, who
lapped up its contents in a moment; he then returned, and after waiting for the soup to cool some more, we all
went merrily on with our dinner.
While we were thus busily employed, we suddenly discovered that our dogs, not satisfied with their mouthful of
soup, had espied the agouti, and were rapidly devouring it. The boys all began to yell, and Fritz first threw a
stone at the dogs and then, seizing his gun, flew to rescue it from their hungry jaws. Before I could prevent him,
he struck one of them with such force that his gun was bent. The poor beasts ran off howling, followed by a
shower of stones from Fritz, who shouted and yelled at them so fiercely, that if I had not interfered, it was
probable he would have killed them.
I followed him, and as soon as he would listen to me, represented to him how despicable as well as wicked was
such an outbreak of temper. `For,' said I, `you have hurt, if not actually wounded, the dogs; you have distressed
and frightened your mother, and you have spoiled your gun, which would have been so useful.'
Though Fritz's passion was easily aroused it never lasted long, and speedily recovering himself, immediately he
entreated his mother's pardon, and expressed his sorrow for his fault.
By this time the sun was sinking beneath the horizon, and the poultry, which had been straying to some little
distance, gathered round us, and began to pick up the crumbs of biscuit which had fallen during our repast. My
wife hereupon drew from her mysterious bag some handfuls of oats, peas, and other grain, and with them
began to feed the poultry.
She at the same time showed me several other seeds of various vegetables. `That was indeed thoughtful,' said I,
`but pray be careful of what will be of such value to us; we can bring plenty of damaged biscuits from the
wreck, which though of no use as food for us, will suit the fowls very well indeed.'
The pigeons now flew up to crevices in the rocks, the fowls perched themselves on our tent pole, and the ducks
and geese waddled off cackling and quacking to the marshy margin of the river. We too were ready for repose,
and having loaded our guns, and offered up our prayers to God, thanking him for his many mercies to us, we
commended ourselves to his protecting care, and as the last ray of light departed, closed our tent and lay
down to rest.
The children remarked the suddenness of nightfall, for indeed there had been little or no twilight. This
convinced me that we must be not far from the equator, for twilight results from the refraction of the sun's rays;
the more obliquely these rays fall, the further does the partial light extend, while the more perpendicularly they
strike the earth the longer do they continue their undiminished force, until when the sun sinks, they totally
disappear, thus producing sudden darkness.
                                                 Chapter 2

We should have been badly off without the shelter of our tent, for the night proved as cold as the day had been
hot, but we managed to sleep comfortably, every one being thoroughly fatigued by the labours of the day.

The voice of our vigilant cock, which as he loudly saluted the rising moon, was the last sound I heard at night,
roused me at daybreak, and I then awoke my wife, that in the quiet interval while yet our children slept, we
might take counsel together on our situation and prospects. It was plain to both of us that in the first place, we
should ascertain if possible the fate of our late companions, and then examine into the nature and resources
of the country on which we were stranded.

We therefore came to the resolution that, as soon as we had breakfasted, Fritz and I should start on an
expedition with these objects in view, while my wife remained near our landing-place with the three younger

`Rouse up, rouse up, my boys,' cried I, awakening the children cheerfully. `Come and help your mother to get
breakfast ready.'

`As to that,' said she, smiling, `we can but set on the pot, and boil some more soup!'

`Why! You forget Jack's fine lobster!' replied I. `What has become of it, Jack?'

`It has been safe in this hole in the rock all night, father. You see, I thought as the dogs seem to like good things,
they might take a fancy to that as well as to the agouti.' `A very sensible precaution,' remarked I. `I believe even
my heedless Jack will learn wisdom in time. It is well the lobster is so large, for we shall want to take part with
us on our excursion to-day.'

At the mention of an excursion, the four children were wild with delight, and, capering around me, clapped their
hands for joy.

`Steady there, steady!' said I, `you cannot expect all to go. Such an expedition as this would be too dangerous
and fatiguing for you younger ones, and this place seems perfectly safe. Fritz and I will go alone this time, with
one of the dogs, leaving the other to defend you. Fritz, prepare the guns, and tie up Flora so that she will not
follow us.'

At the word `guns' the poor boy blushed shamefully. He tried in vain to straighten his weapon. I left him alone
for a short time, but at length I gave him leave to take another, perceiving with pleasure that the vexation had
produced a proper feeling in his mind.

A moment later he tried to lay hold of Flora to tie her up, but the dog, recollecting the blows she had so lately
received, began to snarl and would not go near him. Turk behaved the same, and I found it necessary to call
with my own voice to induce them to approach us. Fritz then, in tears, entreated some biscuit of his
mother, declaring that he would rather go without the rest of his breakfast to make his peace with the dogs. He
accordingly carried them some biscuit, stroked and caressed them, and in every motion seemed to ask their
pardon. As of all animals, without excepting man, the dog is least addicted to revenge, and at the same time
is the most sensible of kind usage, Flora instantly relented and began to lick the hands which fed her; but Turk,
who was of a more fierce and independent temper, still held off, and seemed to lack confidence in Fritz's
`Give him a claw of my lobster,' cried Jack, `for I meant to give it to you anyway, for your journey.'

With that treat, Turk seemed ready to forgive Fritz. We then armed ourselves, each taking a gun and a game-
bag; Fritz, in addition, sticking a pair of pistols in his belt, and I a small hatchet in mine; breakfast being over,
we stowed away the remainder of the lobster and some biscuits, with a flask of water, and were ready
for a start.

`Stop!' I exclaimed, `we have still left something very important undone.'

`Surely not,' said Fritz.

`Yes,' said I, `we have not yet joined in morning prayer. We are only too ready, amid the cares and pleasures of
this life, to forget the God to whom we owe all things.' Then having commended ourselves to his protecting
care, I took leave of my wife and children, and bidding them not wander far from the boat and tent, we parted
not without some anxiety on either side, for we knew not what might assail us in this unknown region.

We now found that the banks of the stream were on both sides so rocky that we could get down to the water by
only one narrow passage, and there was no corresponding path on the other side. I was glad to see this,
however, for I now knew that my wife and children were on a comparatively inaccessible spot, the other side of
the tent being protected by steep and precipitous cliffs.

Fritz and I pursued our way up the stream until we reached a point where the waters fell from a considerable
height in a cascade, and where several large rocks lay half covered by the water; by means
of these we succeeded in crossing the stream in safety. We thus had the sea on our left, and a long line of rocky
heights, here and there adorned with clumps of trees, stretching away inland to the right.

We had forced our way scarcely fifty yards through the long rank grass, which was here partly withered by the
sun and much tangled, when we were much alarmed on hearing behind us a rustling, and on looking round, we
saw the grass waving to and fro, as if some animal were passing through it. Fritz instantly turned and brought
his gun to his shoulder, ready to fire the moment the beast should appear.

I was much pleased with my son's coolness and presence of mind, for it showed me that I might thoroughly rely
upon him on any future occasion when real danger might occur. This time, however, no savage beast rushed
out, but our trusty dog Turk, whom, in our anxiety at parting, we had forgotten, and who had been sent after us
doubtless by my thoughtful wife. I did not fail to commend both the bravery and the discretion of my son, in not
yielding to even a rational alarm, and for waiting until he was sure of the object before he resolved to fire.

From this little incident, however, we saw how dangerous was our position, and how difficult escape would be
should any fierce beast steal upon us unawares: we therefore hastened to make our way to the open seashore.
Here the scene which presented itself was indeed delightful. A background of hills, the green waving
grass, the pleasant groups of trees stretching here and there to the very water's edge, formed a lovely prospect.

On the smooth sand we searched carefully for any trace of our hapless companions, but not the mark of a
footstep could we find. `Shall I fire a shot or two?' said Fritz. `That would bring our companions, if they are
within hearing.'

`It would indeed,' I replied, `or any savages that may be here. No, no; let us search diligently, but as quietly as

`But why, father, should we trouble ourselves about them at all? They left us to shift for ourselves, and I for one
don't care to set eyes on them again.'
`You are wrong, my boy,' said I. `In the first place, we should not return evil for evil; then, again, they might be
of great assistance to us in building a house of some sort; and lastly, you must remember that they took nothing
with them from the vessel, and may be perishing of hunger.'

`But father, while we are wandering here and losing our time almost without a hope of benefit to them, why
should we not instead return to the vessel and save the animals on board?'

`When a variety of duties present themselves for our choice, we should always give the preference to that which
can confer the most solid advantage,' I replied. `The saving of the life of a man is a more exalted action than
contributing to the comfort of a few quadrupeds, whom we have already supplied with food for a few days.
Also, the sea is so calm at present that we need not fear that the ship will sink or break up entirely before
we can return.'

Thus talking, we pushed on until we came to a pleasant grove which stretched down to the water's edge; here
we halted to rest, seating ourselves under a large tree, by a rivulet which murmured and splashed along its
pebbly bed into the great ocean before us.

A thousand gaily plumaged birds flew twittering above us, and Fritz and I gazed up at them. My son suddenly
started up. `A monkey,' he exclaimed, `I am nearly sure I saw a monkey.'

As he spoke he sprang round to the other side of the tree, and in doing so stumbled over a small round object
which he handed to me, remarking, as he did so, that it was a round bird's nest, of which he had often heard.

`You may have done so,' said I, laughing, `but you need not necessarily conclude that every round hairy thing is
a bird's nest; this, for instance, is not one, but a cocoanut. Do you not remember reading that a cocoanut is
enclosed within a round, fibrous covering over a hard shell, which again is surrounded by a bulky green hull? In
the one you hold in your hand, the outer hull has been destroyed by time, which is the reason that the twisted
fibers of the inner covering are so apparent. Let us now break the shell, and you will see the nut inside.'

Not without difficulty, we split open the nut, but, to our disgust, found the kernel dry and uneatable.

`Hullo,' cried Fritz, `I always thought a cocoanut was full of delicious sweet liquid, like almond milk.'

`So it is,' I replied, `when young and fresh, but as it ripens the milk becomes congealed, and in course of time is
solidified into a kernel. This kernel then dries as you see here, but when the nut falls on favourable soil, the
germ within the kernel swells until it bursts through the shell, and, taking root, springs up a new tree.'

`I do not understand,' said Fritz, `how the little germ manages to get through this great thick shell, which is not
like an almond or hazel-nut shell, that is divided down the middle already.'

`Nature provides for all things,' I answered, taking up the pieces. `Look here, do you see these three round holes
near the stalk; it is through them that the germ obtains egress. Now let us find a good nut if we can.'

As cocoanuts must be over-ripe before they fall naturally from the tree, it was not without difficulty that we
obtained one in which the kernel was not dried up. It was a little oily and rancid, but this was not the time to be
too particular. We were so refreshed by the fruit that we could defer the repast we called our dinner until later in
the day, and so spare our stock of provisions.

Continuing our way through a thicket, which was so densely overgrown with lianas that we had to clear a
passage with our hatchets, we again emerged on the seashore beyond, and found an open view, the forest
sweeping inland, while on the space before us stood at intervals single trees of remarkable appearance.
These at once attracted Fritz's observant eye, and he pointed to them, exclaiming: `Oh, what absurd-looking
trees, father! See what strange bumps there are on the trunks.'

We approached to examine them, and I recognized them as calabash trees, the fruit of which grows in this
curious way on the stems, and is a species of gourd, from the hard rind of which bowls, spoons, and bottles can
be made. `The savages,' I remarked, `are said to form these things most ingeniously, using them to contain
liquids: indeed, they actually cook food in them.'

`Oh, but that is impossible,' returned Fritz. `I am quite sure this rind would be burnt through directly if it was set
on the fire.'

`I did not say it was set on the fire at all. When the gourd has been divided in two, and the shell or rind emptied
of its contents, it is filled with water, into which the fish, or whatever is to be cooked, is put; red-hot stones are
added until the water boils; the food becomes fit to eat, and the gourd-rind remains uninjured.'

`That is a very clever plan: very simple too. I daresay I should have hit on it, if I had tried,' said Fritz.

`The friends of Columbus thought it very easy to make an egg stand upon its end when he had shown them how
to do it. But now suppose we prepare some of these calabashes, that they may be ready for use when we take
them home.'

Fritz instantly took up one of the gourds, and tried to split it equally with his knife, but in vain: the blade
slipped, and the calabash was cut jaggedly. `What a nuisance!' said Fritz, flinging it down, `The thing is spoiled;
and yet it seemed so simple to divide it properly.'

`Stay,' said I, `you are too impatient, those pieces are not useless. Do you try to fashion from them a spoon or
two while I provide a dish.' I then took from my pocket a piece of string, which I tied tightly round a gourd, as
near one end of it as I could; then tapping the string with the back of my knife, it penetrated the outer shell.
When this was accomplished, I tied the string yet tighter; and drawing the ends with all my might,
the gourd fell, divided exactly as I wished.

`That is clever!' cried Fritz. `What in the world put that plan into your head?'

`It is a plan,' I replied, `which savages adopt, as I have learned from reading books of travel.'

`Well, it certainly makes a capital soup-tureen, and a soup-plate too,' said Fritz, examining the gourd. `But
supposing you had wanted to make a bottle, how would you have set to work?'

`It would be an easier operation than this, if possible. All that is necessary, is to cut a round hole at one end,
then to scoop out the interior, and to drop in several shot or stones; when these are shaken, any remaining
portions of the fruit are detached, and the gourd is thoroughly cleaned, and the bottle completed.'

`That would not make a very convenient bottle though, father; it would be more like a barrel.'

`True, my boy; if you want a more shapely vessel, you must take it in hand when it is younger. To give it a
neck, for instance, you must tie a bandage round the young gourd while it is still on the tree, and then all will
swell but that part which you have checked.' As I spoke, I filled the gourds with sand, and left them to dry;
marking the spot that we might return for them on our way back.

`Are the bottle-shaped gourds I have seen in Europe trained similarly?'

`No, they are of another species, and what you have seen is their natural shape.'
For three hours or more we pushed forward, keeping a sharp look-out on either side for any trace of our
companions, till we reached a bold promontory, stretching some way into the sea, from whose rocky summit I
knew that we should obtain a good and comprehensive view of the surrounding country. With little difficulty
we reached the top, but the most careful survey of the beautiful landscape failed to show us the slightest sign or
trace of human beings.

Before us stretched a wide and lovely bay, fringed with yellow sands, either side extending into the distance,
and almost lost
to view in two shadowy promontories; enclosed by these two arms lay a sheet of rippling water, which reflected
in its depths the glorious sun above. The scene inland was no less beautiful; and yet Fritz and I both felt a shade
of loneliness stealing over us as we gazed on its utter solitude.

`Cheer up, Fritz, my boy,' said I, presently. `Remember that we chose a settler's life long ago, before we left our
own dear country; we certainly did not expect to be so entirely alone--but what matters a few people, more or
less? With God's help, let us endeavour to live here contentedly, thankful that we were not cast upon some bare
and inhospitable island. But come, the heat here is getting unbearable; let us find some shady place before we
are completely broiled away.'

We descended the hill and made for a clump of palm trees, which we saw at a little distance. To reach this, we
had to pass through a dense thicket of reeds, no pleasant or easy task; for, besides the difficulty of forcing our
way through, I feared at every step that we might tread on some venomous snake.

Sending Turk in advance, I cut one of the reeds, thinking it would be a more useful weapon against a reptile
than my gun. I had carried it but a little way, when I noticed a thick juice exuding from one end. I tasted it, and
to my delight, found it sweet and pleasant. I at once knew that I was standing amongst sugar-canes.

Wishing Fritz to make the same discovery, I advised him to cut a cane for his defense; he did so, and as he beat
the ground before him, the reed split, and his hand was covered with the juice. He carefully touched the cane
with the tip of his tongue, then, finding the juice sweet, he did so again with less hesitation; and a moment
afterwards sprang back to me, exclaiming, `Oh, father, sugar-cane, sugar-cane! Taste it. Oh, how delicious, how
delightful! Do let us take a lot home to mother,' he continued, sucking eagerly at the cane!

`Gently there,' said I, `take breath a moment, moderation in all things, remember. Cut some to take home if you
like; only don't take more than you can conveniently carry.'

In spite of my warning, my son cut a dozen or more of the largest canes, and stripping them of their leaves,
carried them under his arm. We then pushed through the cane-brake, and reached the clump of palms for which
we had been making; as we entered it a troop of monkeys, who had been disporting themselves on the ground,
sprang up, chattering and grimacing, and before we could clearly distinguish them, were at the very top of the

Fritz was so provoked by their impertinent gestures that he raised his gun, and would have shot one of the poor
beasts. `Stay,' cried I, `never take the life of any animal needlessly. A live monkey up in that tree is of more use
to us than a dozen dead ones at our feet, as I will show you.'

Saying this, I gathered a handful of small stones, and threw them up towards the apes. The stones did not go
near them, but influenced by their instinctive mania for imitation, they instantly seized all the cocoanuts within
their reach, and sent a perfect hail of them down upon us.
Fritz was delighted with my stratagem, and rushing forward picked up some of the finest of the nuts. We drank
the milk they contained, drawing it through the holes which I pierced. The milk of a cocoanut has not a pleasant
flavor, but it is excellent for quenching thirst. What we liked best was a kind of solid cream which adheres
to their shells, and which we scraped off with our spoons.

After this delicious meal, we thoroughly despised the lobster we had been carrying, and threw it to Turk, who
ate it gratefully; but far from being satisfied, the poor beast began to gnaw the ends of the sugar-canes, and to
beg for cocoanut. I slung a couple of the nuts over my shoulder, fastening them together by their stalks, and
Fritz having resumed his burden, we began our homeward march.

I soon discovered that Fritz found the weight of his canes considerably more than he expected: he shifted them
from shoulder to shoulder, then for a while carried them under his arm, and finally stopped short with a sigh. `I
had no idea,' he said, `that a few reeds would be so heavy. How sincerely I pity the poor negroes who are made
to carry heavy loads of them! Yet how glad I shall be when my mother and brothers are tasting them.'

`Never mind, my boy,' I said, `Patience and courage! Do you not remember the story of Aesop and his
breadbasket, how heavy he found it when he started, and how light at the end of his journey? Let us each take a
fresh staff, and then fasten the bundle crosswise with your gun.'

We did so, and once more stepped forward. Fritz presently noticed that I from time to time sucked the end of
my cane.

`Oh, come,' said he, `that's a capital plan of yours, father, I'll do that too.'

So saying, he began to suck most vigorously, but not a drop of the juice could he extract. `How is this?' he
asked. `How do you get the juice out, father?'

`Think a little,' I replied, `you are quite as capable as I am of finding out the way, even if you do not know the
real reason of your failure.'

`Oh, of course,' said he, `it is like trying to suck marrow from a marrow bone, without making a hole at the
other end.'

`Quite right,' I said, `you form a vacuum in your mouth and the end of your tube, and expect the air to force
down the liquid from the other end which it cannot possibly enter.'

Fritz was speedily perfect in the accomplishment of sucking sugar-cane, discovering by experience the
necessity for a fresh cut at each joint or knot in the cane, through which the juice could not flow; he talked of
the pleasure of initiating his brothers in the art, and of how Ernest would enjoy the cocoanut milk, with which
he had filled his flask.

`My dear boy,' said I, `you need not have added that to your load; the chances are it will be vinegar by the time
we get home. In the heat of the sun, it will ferment soon after being drawn from the nut.'

`Vinegar! Oh, that would be a horrid bore! I must look directly, and see how it is getting on,' cried Fritz, hastily
swinging the flask from his shoulder, and tugging out the cork. With a loud `pop' the contents came forth,
foaming like champagne.

`There now!' said I, laughing as he tasted this new luxury. `You will have to exercise moderation again, friend
Fritz! I daresay it is delicious, but it will go to your head, if you venture deep into your flask.'

`My dear father, you cannot think how good it is! Do take some. Vinegar, indeed! This is like excellent wine.'
We were both invigorated by this unexpected draught, and went on so merrily after it, that the distance to the
place where we had left our gourd dishes seemed less than we expected. We found them quite dry, and very
light and easy to carry.

Just as we had passed through the grove in which we breakfasted, Turk suddenly darted away from us, and
sprang furiously among a troop of monkeys, which were gambolling playfully on the turf at a little distance
from the trees. They were taken by surprise completely, and the dog, now really ravenous from hunger, had
seized one, and was fiercely tearing it to pieces before we could approach the spot.

His luckless victim was the mother of a tiny little monkey, which, being on her back when the dog flew at her,
had hindered her flight; the little creature attempted to hide among the grass, and in trembling fear watched the
tragic fate of its mother.

On perceiving Turk's bloodthirsty design, Fritz had eagerly rushed to the rescue, flinging away all he was
carrying, and losing his hat in his haste. All to no purpose as far as the poor mother ape was concerned, and a
laughable scene ensued, for no sooner did the young monkey catch sight of him than at one bound it was on his
shoulders, and, holding fast by his thick curly hair, it firmly kept its seat in spite of all he could do to dislodge it.
He screamed and plunged about as he endeavoured to shake or pull the creature off, but all in vain, it only clung
the closer to his neck, making the most absurd grimaces.

I laughed so much at this ridiculous scene, that I could scarcely assist my terrified boy out of his awkward
predicament. Indeed, I told Fritz that the animal, having lost its mother, seemed determined to adopt Fritz.
"Perhaps he has discovered in you something of the air of a father of a family."

"Or rather," Fritz retorted, "the little rogue has found out that he has to do with a chicken-heart, who shrinks
from the idea of ill-treating an animal which has thrown itself on his protection. But father, he is yanking my
hair terribly, and I shall be obliged to you to try once more to get him off."

At last, by coaxing the monkey, offering it a bit of biscuit, and gradually disentangling its small sinewy paws
from the curls it grasped so tightly, I managed to relieve poor Fritz, who then looked with interest at the baby
ape, no bigger than a kitten, as it lay in my arms.

`What a jolly little fellow it is!' exclaimed he. `Do let me try to rear it, father. I daresay cocoanut milk would do
until we can bring the cow and the goats from the wreck. If he lives he might be useful to us. I believe monkeys
instinctively know what fruits are wholesome and what are poisonous.'

`Well,' said I, `let the little orphan be yours. You bravely and kindly exerted yourself to save the mother's life,
now you must train her child carefully, for unless you do so its natural instinct will prove mischievous instead
of useful to us.'

Turk was meanwhile devouring with great satisfaction the little animal's unfortunate mother. Fritz wished to
drive him away from the feast, but I could not grudge it him, and reminded Fritz that continued hunger might
have made Turk dangerous to ourselves. We did not think it necessary to wait until he had dined, so we
prepared to resume our march, conversing as we walked.

"Let me remind you," I said, "in our situation, it would be dangerous to teach the dogs not to attack and kill, if
they can, whatever unknown animals they meet. You will see that he will soon regard your little monkey as a
member of our family. But we must not discourage him from his fancy for attacking wild beasts. Heaven has
bestowed the dog on man to be his safeguard and ally, and the horse the same. A man on horseback,
accompanied by a troop of well-trained dogs, need not fear any species of wild beasts, not even the lion nor the
Thoughtfully, Fritz replied, "I feel fortunate that we are in the possession of two such creatures; but what a pity
that the horses on board died during our voyage, and left us with only an ass." "Let us take care how we treat
even our ass with disdain," I told him. "I wish we had him safe on land. Fortunately he is large and strong. We
may train him to do us the same services as are performed by the horse; and it is not improbable that he will
improve under our care, given the excellent pasture we will find in this climate."

The tiny ape seated itself in the coolest way imaginable on Fritz's shoulder, I helped to carry his canes, and we
were on some distance before Turk overtook us, looking uncommonly well pleased, and licking his chops as
though recalling the memory of his feast.

He took no notice of the monkey, but it was very uneasy at sight of him, and scrambled down into Fritz's arms,
which was so inconvenient to him that he devised a plan to relieve himself of his burden.

Calling Turk, and seriously enjoining obedience, he seated the monkey on his back, securing it there with a
cord, and then putting a second string round the dog's neck that he might lead him, he put a loop of the knot into
the comical rider's hand, saying gravely, `Having slain the parent, Mr. Turk, you will please to carry the son.'

At first this arrangement mightily displeased them both, but by and by they yielded to it quietly; the monkey
especially amused us by riding along with the air of a person perfectly at his ease.

`We look just like a couple of mountebanks on their way to a fair with animals to exhibit,' said I. `What an
outcry the children will make when we appear!'

My son inquired to what species of the monkey tribe I thought his protege belonged, which led to a good deal of
talk on the subject, and conversation beguiling the way, we found ourselves ere long on the rocky margin of the
stream and close to the rest of our party.

Juno was the first to be aware of our approach, and gave notice of it by loud barking, to which Turk replied with
such hearty goodwill, that his little rider, terrified at the noise his steed was making, slipped from under the cord
and fled to his refuge on Fritz's shoulder, where he regained his composure and settled himself comfortably.

Turk, who by this time knew where he was, finding himself free, dashed forward to rejoin his friend, and
announce our coming. One after another our dear ones came running to the opposite bank, testifying in various
ways their delight at our return, and hastening up on their side of the river, as we on ours, to the ford at which
we had crossed in the morning. We were quickly on the other side, and, full of joy and affection, our happy
party was once more united.

The boys suddenly perceiving the little animal which was clinging close to their brother, in alarm at the tumult
of voices, shouted in ecstasy:

`A monkey! A monkey! Oh, how splendid! Where did Fritz find him? What may we give him to eat? Oh, what
a bundle of sticks! Look at those curious great nuts father has got!'

We could neither check this confused torrent of questions, nor get in a word in answer to them.

At length when the excitement subsided a little, I was able to say a few words with a chance of being listened
to. `I am truly thankful to see you all safe and well, and, thank God, our expedition has been very satisfactory,
except that we have entirely failed to discover any trace of our shipmates.'

`If it be the will of God,' said my wife, `to leave us alone on this solitary place, let us be content, and rejoice that
we are all together in safety. I have been uneasy since you left, and imagined a thousand evils that might beset
you. The day appeared an age, but now that I see you once more safe and well, I know how foolish my fears
must seem.

`Now we want to hear all your adventures, and let us relieve you of your burdens,' added she, taking my game-

Jack shouldered my gun, Ernest took the cocoanuts, and little Franz carried the gourds, Fritz distributed the
sugarcanes amongst his brothers, and handing Ernest his gun replaced the monkey on Turk's hack. Ernest soon
found the burden with which Fritz had laden him too heavy to his taste. His mother, perceiving this, offered to
relieve him of part of the load. He willingly gave up the cocoanuts, but no sooner had he done so than his elder
brother exclaimed:

`Hullo, Ernest, you surely do not know what you are parting with; did you really intend to hand over those good
cocoanuts without so much as tasting them?'

`What? ho! Are they really cocoanuts?' cried Ernest, `I thought they were bowls! Do let me take them again,
mother, do let me look at them.'

`No, thank you,' replied my wife with a smile. `I have no wish to see you again overburdened.'

`Oh but I have only to throw away these sticks, which are of no use, and then I can easily carry them.'

`Worse and worse,' said Fritz, `I have a particular regard for those heavy useless sticks. Did you ever hear of

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when Ernest began to suck vigorously at the end of the cane with no
better result, however, than Fritz had obtained as we were on the march.

`Here,' said Fritz, `let me show you the trick of it,' and he speedily set all the youngsters to work extracting the
luscious juice.

My wife, as a prudent housekeeper who made much use of sugar, was no less delighted than the children with
this discovery; the sight of the dishes also pleased her greatly, for she longed to see us eat once more like
civilized beings.

We went into the kitchen and there found preparations for a truly sumptuous meal. Two forked sticks were
planted in the ground on either side of the fire, on these rested a rod from which hung several tempting-looking
fish, opposite them hung a goose from a similar contrivance, slowly roasting while the gravy dropped into a
large shell placed beneath it. Franz gave the spit another turn, assuring me he had been helping all day to keep
the meal from burning. In the centre sat the great pot from which issued the smell of a most delicious soup. To
crown this splendid array, stood an open hogshead full of Dutch cheeses.

All this was very pleasant to two hungry travellers, but I was about to beg my wife to spare the poultry until our
stock should have increased, when she, perceiving my thought, quickly relieved my anxiety. `This is not one of
our geese,' she said, `but a wild bird Ernest killed.'

`Yes,' said Ernest, `it is a penguin, I think, it let me get quite close, so that I knocked it on the head with a stick.
Here are its head and feet which I preserved to show you; the bill is, you see, narrow and curved downwards,
and the feet are webbed. It had funny little bits of useless wings, and its eyes looked so solemnly and
sedately at me, that I was almost ashamed to kill it. It seemed quite destitute of any intelligence, so that I was
able to kill it with a single blow from my stick. Do you not think it must have been a penguin?'
`I have little doubt on the matter, my boy,' and I was about to make a few remarks on the habits of this bird,
when my wife interrupted me and begged us to come to dinner and continue our natural history conversation at
some future time. Fritz now suddenly recollected his delicious wine, and producing his flask, begged his mother
to taste it.

`Try it first yourself,' said I; Fritz did so, and I instantly saw by his countenance that the liquor had passed
through the first stage of fermentation and had become vinegar.

`Never mind, my boy,' said my prudent wife, when she learned the cause of his wry faces, `we have wine
already but no vinegar; I am really pleased at the transformation. Mixed with the fat which has fallen from our
bird with roasting, it will make a most delicious sauce which will be as good a relish as a salad.'

And so it proved, as a corrective of the wild and fishy flavor of the penguin, as well as improving the taste of
the fish. We did full justice to the appetizing meal prepared for us, our gourds coming for the first time into use,
and having done it full justice, I produced the cocoanuts by way of dessert.

`Here is better food for your little friend,' said I to Fritz, who had been vainly endeavouring to persuade the
monkey to taste dainty morsels of the food we had been eating. `The poor little animal has been accustomed to
nothing but its mother's milk; fetch me a saw, one of you.'

I then, after extracting the milk of the nuts from their natural holes, carefully cut the shells in half, thus
providing several more useful basins. The monkey was perfectly satisfied with the milk, and eagerly sucked the
corner of a handkerchief dipped in it.

The sun was now rapidly sinking behind the horizon, and the poultry retiring for the night warned us that we
must follow their example.Having offered up our prayers, we lay down on our beds, the monkey crouched down
between Jack and Fritz, and we were all soon fast asleep.

We did not, however, long enjoy this repose; a loud barking from our dogs, who were on guard outside the tent,
awakened us, and the fluttering and cackling of our poultry warned us that a foe was approaching. Fritz and I
sprang up, and seizing our guns rushed out. There we found a desperate combat going on, our gallant dogs,
surrounded by a dozen or more large jackals, were fighting bravely, four of their opponents lay dead, but
the others were in no way deterred by the fate of their comrades.

Fritz and I, however, sent bullets through the heads of a couple more, and the rest galloped off. Turk and Juno
did not intend that they should escape so cheaply, and pursuing them, they caught, killed, and devoured another
of the animals, regardless of their near relationship. Fritz wished to save one of the jackals that he might be able
to show it to his brothers in the morning; dragging therefore the one that he had shot near the tent, he concealed
it, and we once more returned to our beds. I told him that in justice, if Turk and Flora were still hungry, we
should give this last jackal to them. But they, surfeited, curled up to sleep.

Soundly and peacefully we slept until cock-crow next morning, when my wife and I awoke. I observed to her
that I could not but view with alarm the many cares and exertions to be made. `In the first place, a journey to the
vessel must be made. This is of absolute necessity, at least, if we would not be deprived of the livestock and
other useful things, all of which from moment to moment we risk losing by the first heavy sea. What ought we
first to resolve on? For example, should not our very first endeavour to be the contriving of a better sort of
habitation and a more secure retreat from wild beasts, as well as a separate place for our provisions? I own I am
at a loss what to begin first.'

`Return to the wreck by all means,' replied my wife, cheerfully. `Patience, order and perseverance will help us
through all our work, and I agree with you that a visit to the wreck is without doubt our first duty. Come, let us
wake the children, and set to work without delay.'
They were soon roused, and Fritz overcoming his drowsiness before the others, ran out for his jackal; it was
cold and stiff from the night air, and he placed it on its legs before the tent, in a most life-like attitude, and stood
by to watch the effect upon the family.

The dogs were the first to perceive their enemy, and growling, seemed inclined to dispose of the animal as they
had disposed of its brethren in the night, but Fritz called them off. The noise the dogs made, however, had the
effect of bringing out the younger children, and many were the exclamations they made at the sight of the
strange animal.

`A yellow dog!' cried Franz.

`A wolf!' exclaimed Jack.

`It is a striped fox,' said Ernest.

`Hullo,' said Fritz. `The greatest men may make mistakes. Our Professor does not know a jackal when he sees

`But really,' continued Ernest, examining the animal, `I think it is a fox.'

`Very well, very well,' retorted Fritz, `no doubt you know better than your father! He thinks it is a jackal.'

`Come boys,' said I, `no more of this quarrelling; you are none of you very far wrong, for the jackal partakes of
the nature of all three, dog, wolf, and fox.'

The monkey had come out on Jack's shoulder, but no sooner did it catch sight of the jackal, than it fled
precipitately back into the tent, and hid itself in a heap of moss until nothing was visible but the tip of
its little nose. Jack soothed and comforted the frightened little animal, and I then summoned them all to prayers,
soon after which we began our breakfast.

So severely had we dealt with our supper the previous night, that we had little to eat but the biscuits, which
were so dry and hard, that, hungry as we were, we could not swallow much. Fritz and I took some cheese to
help them down, while my wife and younger sons soaked theirs in water. Ernest roamed down to the shore, and
looked about for shellfish.

Presently he returned with a few whelks. `Ah,' said he, `if we had but some butter.'

`My good boy,' I replied, `Your perpetual "if, if", quite annoys me; I would rather eat a bit of cheese with my
biscuit at once, than think of ifs, which bring us so meagre a harvest. Why do you not sit down and eat cheese
like the rest of us?'

`Not while I can get butter,' he said, `see here, father,' and he pointed to a large cask, `that barrel contains
excellent salt butter. I made a little opening in it with a knife; and see, I got enough to spread nicely upon this
piece of biscuit.'

`Really, Ernest,' I said, `we are indebted to you. I will open the cask.' So saying, I took a knife and carefully cut
a small hole, so that I could extract the butter without exposing the mass of it to the effects of the air and heat.
Filling a cocoanut shell with the good Dutch butter, we once more sat down, toasting our biscuits before the fire
and spreading them with butter.
While we were thus employed, I noticed that the two dogs were lying unusually quietly by my side. I at first
attributed this drowsiness to their large meal during the night, but I soon discovered that it arose from a different
cause; the faithful animals had not escaped unhurt from their late combat, but had received several deep and
painful wounds, especially about the neck. The dogs began to lick each other on the places which they could not
reach with their own tongues, and my wife carefully dressed the wounds with butter from which she had
extracted the salt by washing.

'One of the things we must not forget to look for in the vessel,' said Fritz, `is a spiked collar for each of the dogs,
as a protection to them should they again be called upon to defend themselves and us from wild beasts.'

`Oh yes,' exclaimed Jack, `but I can make spiked collars, if mother will give me some help.'

`Try by all means, my little fellow,' said I, `and persuade your mother to assist you; and now, Fritz,' I continued,
`we must be starting, for you and I are to make a trip to the wreck.'

`That I will, my boy,' she cried, `for I would like to see what new fancy has come into your head. And all of us
must remember that we may make as many new inventions as we can think of. We cannot better employ your
time, and if you produce something useful, you will be rewarded with the commendations of all.'

I begged the party who were to remain on shore, to keep together as much as possible, reminded my younger
sons to obey their mother in all things, and having arranged a set of signals with my wife that we might
exchange communications, asked a blessing on our enterprise. I erected a signal-post, and while Fritz was
making preparations for our departure, hoisted a strip of sailcloth as a flag; this flag was to remain hoisted so
long as all was well on shore, but should our return be desired, three shots were to be fired and the flag lowered.

All was now ready, and warning my wife that we might find it necessary to remain all night on the vessel, we
tenderly bade adieu and embarked. Except our guns and ammunition we were taking nothing, that we might
leave as much space as possible for the stowage of a large cargo. Fritz, however, had resolved to bring his little
monkey, that he might obtain milk for it as soon as possible.

We had not got far from the shore, when I perceived that a current from the river set in directly for the vessel,
and though my nautical knowledge was not great, I succeeded in steering the boat into the favourable stream,
which carried us nearly three-fourths of our passage with little or no trouble to ourselves; then, by dint of hard
pulling, we accomplished the whole distance, and, entering through the breach, gladly made fast our boat and
stepped on board.

Our first care was to see to the animals, who greeted us with joy--lowing, bellowing, and bleating as we
approached--not that the poor beasts were hungry, for they were all still well supplied with food, but they were
apparently pleased by the mere sight of human beings. We removed any partly spoiled food and added a fresh
supply, along with fresh water.

Fritz then placed his monkey by one of the goats, and the little animal immediately sucked the milk with evident
relish, chattering and grinning all the while; the monkey provided for, we refreshed ourselves with a plentiful
meal. `Now,' said I, `we have plenty to do; where shall we begin?'

`Let us fix a mast and sail to our boat,' answered Fritz, `for the current which brought us out will not take us
back; whereas the fresh breeze we met would help us immensely had we but a sail.'

Quite startled, I demanded, `What makes you think of this at so critical a time, when we have so many
necessities to attend to?'
`I must confess,' he said, `that I found it very difficult to row for so long a time, though I assure you I did my
best and did not spare my strength. I noticed that, though the wind blew strong in my face, towards land, the
current continued to carry is out. Now, as the current will be of no use in our way back, I was thinking that we
might make the wind supply its place. Our boat will be very heavy when we have loaded it with all the things
we mean to take away, and I am afraid that I shall not be strong enough to row to land.'

`You have reasoned well, my boy,' I replied, `and let us set to work at once. Even so, we must take care not to
overload the boat, as that might risk our sinking or force us to throw supplies overboard.' I chose a stout spar to
serve as a mast, and having made a hole in a plank nailed across one of the tubs we, with the help of a rope and
a couple of blocks, stepped it and secured it with stays.

We then discovered a lug-sail, which had belonged to one of the ship's boats; this we hoisted; and our craft was
ready to sail. Fritz begged me to decorate the mast-head with a red streamer, to give our vessel a more finished
appearance. Smiling at this childish but natural vanity, I complied with his request. I then contrived a rudder,
that I might be able to steer the boat; for though I knew that an oar would serve the purpose, it was cumbrous
and inconvenient.

While I was thus employed, Fritz examined the shore with his glass, and soon announced that the flag was
flying and all was well.

So much time had now slipped away, that we found we could not return that night, as I had wished. We
signalled our intention of remaining on board, and then spent the rest of our time in taking out the stones we
had placed in the boat for ballast, and stowed in their place heavy articles, of value to us.

The ship had sailed for the purpose of supplying a young colony; she had therefore on board every conceivable
article we could desire in our present situation; our only difficulty indeed was to make a wise selection. Fritz
seemed sanguine that we would be able to return for more, but of that I was far from certain.

A large quantity of powder and shot we first secured, and as Fritz considered that we could not have too many
weapons, we added three excellent guns, and a whole armful of swords, daggers and knives. We remembered
that knives and forks and spoons were necessary, we therefore laid in a large stock of them, and kitchen utensils
of all sorts.

Exploring the captain's cabin, we discovered a service of silver-plate and a cellaret of good old wine; we then
went over the stores, and supplied ourselves with potted meats, portable soups, Westphalian hams, sausages, a
bag of maize and wheat, and a quantity of other seeds and vegetables. I then added a barrel of sulphur for
matches, and as much string, cordage, and sailcloth as I could find.

Fritz reminded me that sleeping on the ground, even with the leaves and moss the boys had collected, had been
both cold and hard, and prevailed upon me to increase our cargo by some hammocks and blankets.

All this--with nails, tools and agricultural implements--completed our cargo, and sank our boat so low, that I
should have been obliged to lighten her had not the sea been calm.

Night drew on and a large fire, lighted by those on shore, showed us that all was well. We replied by hoisting
four ship's lanterns, and two shots announced us that our signal was perceived.

The ship seemed to be in so wretched a condition that the least tempest, such as might arise unexpectedly during
the night, must complete her destructions. We resigned ourselves to sleeping in our small boat, which appeared
safer than the great vessel. So, with a heartfelt prayer for the safety of our dear ones on shore, we retired, and
Fritz at all events was soon sound asleep.
For a while I could not sleep, the thought of my wife and children--alone and unprotected, save by the great
dogs--disturbed my rest. The night at length passed away. At daybreak Fritz and I arose, and went on deck. I
brought the telescope to bear upon the shore, and with pleasure saw the flag still waving in the morning breeze;
while I kept the glass directed to the land, I saw the door of the tent open, and my wife appear and look
steadfastly towards us.

I at once hoisted a white flag, and in reply, the flag on shore was thrice dipped. Oh, what a weight seemed lifted
from my heart as I saw the signal!

`Fritz,' I said, `now that I have had a sight of your mother, my next concern is for the animals on board. Let us
endeavour to save the lives of some of them, at least, and to take them with us.'

`Would it be possible to make a raft,' suggested Fritz, `and get them all on it and in that way take them to hore?'

`But how could we induce a cow, an ass, and a sow either to get upon a raft or, when there to remain motionless
and quiet? The sheep and goats one might perhaps find means to remove, they being of a more docile temper;
but for the larger animals, I am at a loss as to how to proceed.'

`We could tie a long rope around the sow's neck,' Fritz now proposed, `and throw her without ceremony into the
sea. Her immense bulk will be sure to sustain her above water, and by the rope, we can draw her after the boat.'

`An excellent idea,' I replied, `but unfortunately it is of no use but for the pig; and she is the one I care least
about preserving.' In fact, I had an idea how to proceed, but I desired to allow Fritz to invent a solution.

`Well,' said Fritz, `I can think of nothing else, unless indeed we make them such swimming-belts as you made
for the children.'

`Really, my boy, that idea is worth having. I am not joking, indeed,' I continued, as I saw him smile, `we may
get every one of the animals ashore in that way.'

So saying, I caught a fine sheep, and proceeded to put our plan into execution. I first fastened a broad piece of
linen round its belly, and to this attached some corks and empty tins; then with Fritz's help, I flung the animal
into the sea--it sank, but a moment afterwards rose and floated famously.

`Hurrah!' exclaimed Fritz, `we will treat them all like that.' We then rapidly caught the other animals and
provided them one after the other with a similar contrivance. The cow and ass gave us more trouble than
did the others. For them we required something more buoyant than the mere cork; we at last found some empty
casks and fastened two to each animal by thongs passed under its belly.

This done, the whole herd were ready to start, and we brought the ass to one of the ports to be the first to be
launched. After some maneuvering we got him in a convenient position, and then a sudden heave sent him
plunging into the sea. He sank, and then, buoyed up by the casks, emerged head and back from the water.

The cow, sheep and goats followed him one after the other, and then the sow alone remained. She seemed,
however determined not to leave the ship; she kicked, struggled and squealed so violently, that I really
thought we should be obliged to abandon her. Indeed, we found it necessary to put a muzzle on her to prevent
her from biting before we could tie a large piece of cork under her body. At length, after much trouble, we
succeeded in sending her out of the port after the others, and when once in the water, such was the old lady's
energy that she quickly distanced them, and was the first to reach the shore.

We had fastened to the horns or neck of each animal a cord with a float attached to the end, and now embarking,
we gathered up these floats, set sail, and steered for shore, drawing our herd after us. I saw, now, how
impossible it would have been for us to have succeeded in our enterprise without the aid of a sail; the weight of
the good sank the boat so low in the water that none of our exertions would have allowed us to row such a
distance. But with the sail, we proceeded so completely to our satisfaction that were able to get some biscuits
and enjoyed a midday meal; then, while Fritz amused himself with his monkey, I took up my glass and tried to
make out how our dear ones on shore were employing themselves.

As I was thus engaged, a sudden shout from Fritz surprised me. I glanced up; there stood Fritz with his gun to
his shoulder, pointing it at a huge shark. The monster was making for one of the finest sheep; he turned on his
side to seize his prey; as the white of his belly appeared Fritz fired. The shot took effect, and our enemy
disappeared, leaving a trace of blood on the calm water.

`Well done, my boy,' I cried, `you will become a crack shot one of these days; but I trust you will not often have
such dangerous game to shoot.' Fritz's eyes sparkled at his success and my praise, and reloading his gun,
carefully watched the water. But the shark did not again appear, and borne onwards by the breeze, we quickly
neared the shore. Steering the boat to a convenient landing place, I cast off the ropes which secured the animals,
and let them get ashore as best they might.

There was no sign of my wife or children when we stepped on land, but a few moments afterwards they
appeared, and with a shout of joy ran towards us.

We were thankful to be once more united, and after asking and replying to a few preliminary questions,
proceeded to release our herd from their swimming belts, which, though so useful in the water, were
exceedingly inconvenient on shore. My wife was astonished at the apparatus. `How clever you are,' said she.

`I am not the inventor,' I replied, `the honour is due to Fritz. He not only thought of this plan for bringing off the
animals, but saved one at least of them from a most fearful death.' And I then told them how bravely he had
encountered the shark. My wife was delighted with her son's success, but declared that she would dread our
trips to the vessel more than ever, knowing that such savage fish inhabited the waters.

Fritz, Ernest and I began the work of unloading our craft, while Jack, seeing that the poor donkey was still
encumbered with his swimming-belt, tried to free him from it. But the donkey would not stand quiet, and the
child's fingers were not strong enough to loosen the cordage; finally, therefore, he scrambled upon the animal's
back, and urging him on with hand and foot, trotted towards us.

`Come, my boy,' I said, `no one must be idle here, even for a moment; you will have riding practise enough
hereafter; dismount and come and help us.'

Jack was soon on his feet. `But I have not been idle all day,' he said, `look here!' and he pointed to a belt round
his waist. It was a broad belt of yellow skin in which he had stuck a couple of pistols and a knife. `And see,' he
added, `what I have made for the dogs. Here, Juno, Turk,' the dogs came bounding up at his call, and I saw that
they were each supplied with a collar of the same skin, in which were fastened nails, which bristled round their
necks in a most formidable manner.

`Capital, capital! my boy,' said I, `but where did you get your materials, and who helped you?' `Except in
sewing,' said my wife, `he had little assistance, and as for the materials, Fritz's jackal supplied us with the skin,
and the needles and thread came out of my wonderful bag. You little think how many useful things may be had
from that same bag; it is woman's duty and nature, you know, to see after trifles.'

Fritz evidently did not approve of the use to which his jackal's hide had been devoted, and holding his nose,
begged his little brother to keep at a distance. `Really, Jack,' he said, `you should have cured the hide before you
used it, the smell is disgusting, don't come near me.'
`It's not the hide that smells at all,' retorted Jack, `it is your nasty jackal itself that you left in the sun.'

`Now, boys,' said I, `no quarrelling here; do you, Jack, help your brother to drag the carcase to the sea, and if
your belt smells after that you must take it off and dry it better.'

The jackal was dragged off, and we then finished our work of unloading our boat. When this was accomplished
we started for our tent, and finding there no preparation for supper, I said, `Fritz, let us have a Westphalian

`Ernest,' said my wife, smiling, `let us see if we cannot conjure up some eggs.'

Fritz got out a splendid ham and carried it to his mother triumphantly, while Ernest set before me a dozen white
balls with parchment-like coverings.

`Turtles' eggs!' said I. `Well done, Ernest, where did you get them?'

`That,' replied my wife, `shall be told in due course when we relate our adventures; now we will see what they
will do towards making a supper for you; with these and your ham I do not think we shall starve.'

Leaving my wife to prepare supper, we returned to the shore and brought up what of the cargo we had left there;
then, having collected our herd of animals (except for the sow, which ran away, and the ducks and geese which
deserted us for a nearby marshy swamp), we returned to the tent.

The meal which awaited us was as unlike the first supper we had there enjoyed as possible. My wife had
improvised a table of a board laid on two casks, on this was spread a white damask tablecloth, on which were
placed knives, forks, spoons and plates for each person. A tureen of good soup first appeared, followed by a
capital omelette, then slices of the ham; and finally some Dutch cheese, butter and biscuits, with a bottle of the
captain's canary wine, completed the repast.

While we thus regaled ourselves, I related to my wife our adventures, and then begged she would remember her
promise and tell me all that had happened in my absence.
                                                  Chapter 3

`I will spare you a description,' said my wife, `of our first day's occupations; truth to tell, I spent the time chiefly
in anxious thought and watching your progress and signals. I rose very early this morning, and with the utmost
joy perceiving your signal that all was right, hastened to reply to it, and then while my sons yet slumbered, I sat
down and began to consider how our position could be improved.

`"For it is perfectly impossible," said I to myself, "to live much longer where we are now. The sun beats
burningly the livelong day on this bare rocky spot, our only shelter is this poor tent, beneath the
canvas of which the heat is even more oppressive than on the open shore. Why should not I and my little boys
exert ourselves as well as my husband and Fritz? Why should not we too try to accomplish something useful?

`"If we could but exchange this melancholy and unwholesome abode for a pleasant shady dwelling-place, we
should all improve in health and spirits. Among those delightful woods and groves where Fritz and his
father saw so many charming things, I feel sure there must be some little retreat where we could establish
ourselves comfortably; there must be, and I will find it."

`By this time the boys were up, and I observed Jack very quietly and busily occupied with his knife about the
spot where Fritz's jackal lay. Watching his proceedings, I saw that he had cut two long narrow strips
of the animal's skin, which he cleaned and scraped very carefully, and then taking a handful of great nails out of
his pocket, he stuck them through the skin points outwards, after which he cut strips of canvas
sailcloth twice as broad as the thongs, doubled them, and laid them on the raw side of the skin so as to cover the
broad flat nail heads.

`At this point of the performance, Master Jack came to me with the agreeable request that I would kindly stitch
the canvas and (moist) skin together for him. I gave him needles and thread, but could not think of depriving
him of the pleasure of doing it himself.

`However, when I saw how good-humouredly he persevered in the work with his awkward unskilful fingers, I
took pity upon him, and conquering the disgust I felt, finished lining the skin dog-collars he had so ingeniously
contrived. After this I was called upon to complete in the same way a fine belt of skin he had made for himself.
I advised him to think of some means by which the skin might be kept from shrinking.

`Ernest, although rather treating Jack's manufacture with ridicule, proposed a sensible-enough plan, which Jack
forthwith put in execution. He nailed the skin, stretched flat, on a board, and put it in the sun to dry.

`My scheme of a journey was agreed to joyously by my young companions. Preparations were instantly set on
foot: weapons and provisions provided: the two elder boys carrying guns, while they gave me charge of the
water flask, and a small hatchet.

`Leaving everything in as good order as we could at the tent, we proceeded towards the stream, accompanied by
the dogs. Turk, who had accompanied you on your first expedition, seemed immediately to understand that we
wished to pursue the same route, and proudly led the way.

`As I looked at my two young sons, each with his gun, and considered how much the safety of the party
depended on these little fellows, I felt grateful to you, dear husband, for having acquainted them in childhood
with the use of firearms.
`Filling our water-jar, we crossed the stream, and went on to the height from whence, as you described, a lovely
prospect is obtained, at the sight of which a pleasurable sensation of buoyant hope, to which I had long been a
stranger, awoke within my breast.

`A pretty little wood in the distance attracted my notice particularly, and thither we directed our course. But
soon finding it impossible to force our way through the tall strong grass which grew in dense luxuriance higher
than the children's heads, we turned towards the open beach on our left, and following it we reached a point
much nearer the little wood, when, quitting the strand, we made towards it.

`We had not entirely escaped the tall grass, however and with the utmost fatigue and difficulty were struggling
through the reeds, when suddenly a great rushing noise terrified us all dreadfully. A very large and powerful
bird sprang upward on the wing. Both boys attempted to take aim, but the bird was far away before they were
ready to fire.

`"Oh dear, what a pity!" exclaimed Ernest; "now if I had only had my light gun, and if the bird had not flown
quite so fast, I should have brought him down directly!"

`"Oh yes," said I, "no doubt you would be a capital sportsman if only your game would always give you time to
make ready comfortably."

`"But I had no notion that anything was going to fly up just at our feet like that," cried he.

`"A good shot," I replied, "must be prepared for surprises: neither wild birds nor wild beasts will send you
notice that they are about to fly or to run."

`"What sort of bird can it have been?' inquired Jack.

`"Oh, it certainly must have been an eagle," answered little Franz, "it was so very big!"

`"Just as if every big bird must be an eagle!" replied Ernest, in a tone of derision.

`"Let's see where he was sitting, at all events!" said I.

`Jack sprang towards the place, and instantly a second bird, rather larger than the first, rushed upward into the
air, with a most startling noise.

`The boys stood staring upwards, perfectly stupefied, while I laughed heartily, saying, "Well, you are first-rate
sportsmen, to be sure! You certainly will keep my larder famously well supplied!"

`At this, Ernest coloured up, and looked inclined to cry, while Jack put on a comical face, pulled off his cap, and
with a low bow, called after the fugitive, "Adieu for the present, sir! I live in hopes of another meeting!"

`On searching the ground carefully, we discovered a rude sort of nest made untidily of dry grass. It was empty,
although we perceived broken egg-shells at no great distance, and concluded that the young brood had escaped
among the grass, which, in fact, we could see was waving at a little distance, as the little birds ran through it.

`"Now look here, Franz," said Ernest, presently, "just consider how this bird could by any possibility have been
an eagle. Eagles never build on the ground, neither can their young leave the nest and run as soon as they are
out of the egg. That is a peculiarity of the gallinaceous tribe of birds alone, to which then these must belong.
The species, I think, is indicated by the white belly and dull red colour of the wing coverts which I observed in
these specimens, and I believe them to be bustards, especially as I noticed in the largest the fine moustache-like
feathers over the beak, peculiar to the Great Bustard."
`"My dear boy!" I said, "your eyes were actively employed, I must confess, if your fingers were unready with
the gun. And after all, it is just as well, perhaps, that we have not thrown the bustard's family into mourning."

`Thus chatting, we at length approached my pretty wood. Numbers of birds fluttered and sang among the high
branches, but I did not encourage the boys in their wish to try to shoot any of the happy little creatures. We were
lost in admiration of the trees of this grove, and I cannot describe to you how wonderful they are, nor can you
form the least idea of their enormous size without seeing them yourself. What we had been calling a wood
proved to be a group of about a dozen trees only, and, what was strange, the roots sustained the massive trunks
exalted in the air, forming strong arches, and props and stays all around each individual stem, which was firmly
rooted in the centre.

`I gave Jack some twine, and scrambling up one of the curious open-air roots, he succeeded in measuring round
the trunk itself, and made it out to be about eighteen yards. I saw no sort of fruit, but the foliage is thick and
abundant, throwing delicious shade on the ground beneath, which is carpeted with soft green herbage, and
entirely free from thorns, briars, or bushes of any kind. It is the most charming resting-place that ever was seen,
and I and the boys enjoyed our midday meal immensely in this glorious palace of the woods, so grateful to our
senses after the glare and heat of our journey thither.

`The dogs joined us after a while. They had lingered behind on the sea-shore, and I was surprised to see them lie
down and go comfortably to sleep without begging for food, as they do usually when we eat.

`The longer we remained in this enchanting place, the more did it charm my fancy; and if we could but manage
to live in some sort of dwelling up among the branches of those grand, noble trees, I should feel perfectly safe
and happy. It seemed to me absurd to suppose we should ever find another place half so lovely, so I determined
to search no further, but return to the beach and see if anything from the wreck had been cast up by the waves,
which we could carry away with us.

`Before starting, Jack persuaded me to sit quietly a little longer, and finish making his belt and the spike-collars
for the dogs, for you must know that the child had actually been carrying the board on which these were
stretched all this time, so that they should get the full benefit of the sun.

`As they were now quite dry, I completed them easily, and Jack girded on the belt with great pride, placing his
pistols in it, and marching about in a most self-important style, while Ernest fitted the collars on the two dogs.

`On reaching the shore, we found it strewed with many articles, doubtless of value, but all too heavy for us to
lift. We rolled some casks, however, beyond high-water mark, and dragged a chest or two also higher on the
beach; and, while doing so, observed that our dogs were busy among the rocks. They were carefully watching
the crevices and pools, and every now and then would pounce downwards and seize something which they
swallowed with apparent relish.

`"They are eating crabs," said Jack. "No wonder they have not seemed hungry lately."

`And, sure enough, they were catching the little green crabs with which the water abounded. These, however,
did not apparently entirely satisfy them.

`Some time afterwards, just as we were about to turn inland towards the ford, we noticed that Juno was scraping
in the sand, and turning up some round substances, which she hastily devoured.

`Ernest went to see what these were, and reported in his calm way that the dog had found turtles' eggs.
`"Oh," cried I, "then let us by all means share in the booty!" Mrs. Juno, however, did not at all approve of this,
and it was with some difficulty that we drove her aside while we gathered a couple of dozen of the eggs,
stowing them in our provision bags. While thus employed, we caught sight of a sail which appeared to be
merrily approaching the shore beyond the cliffs. Ernest declared it must be our raft. Little Franz, always having
the fear of savages before his eyes, began to look frightened, and for a moment I myself was doubtful what to

`However, we hastened to the stream; and, crossing it by the stepping-stones, came in sight of the landing-place,
where we joyfully met you.

`Now I hope you approve of the proceedings of your exploring party, and that tomorrow you will do me the
favour of packing everything up, and taking us away to live amongst my splendid trees.'

`Aye, little wife,' said I, `so that is your idea of comfort and security is it! A tree, I do not know how many feet
high, on which we are to perch and roost like the birds? If we had but wings or a balloon, it would, I own, be a
capital plan.'

`Laugh as much as you like,' returned my wife, `my idea is not so absurd as you make it out. We should be safe
up there from jackals' visits during the night. And I know I have seen at home in Switzerland, quite a pretty
arbour, with a strong floor, up among the branches of a lime tree, and we went up a staircase to reach it. Why
could not we contrive a place like that, where we could sleep safely at night?'

`I will consider the idea seriously, my wife,' said I, `perhaps something may come of it, after all! Meantime, as
we have finished supper, and night is coming on, let us commend ourselves to Almighty protection and retire to
rest.' Beneath the shelter of our tent, we all slept soundly as marmots, until break of day; when, my wife and I
awaking, took counsel together as to future proceedings.

Referring to the task she had the previous evening proposed for me, I remarked that to undertake it would
involve so many difficulties that it was highly necessary to look closely into the subject.

`In the first place,' said I, `I am unwilling hastily to quit a spot to which I am convinced we were providentially
led as a landing-place. See how secure it is; guarded on all sides by these high cliffs, and accessible only by the
narrow passage to the ford, while from this point it is so easy to reach the ship that the whole of its valuable
cargo is at our disposal. Suppose we decide to stay patiently here for the present--until, at least, we have brought
on shore everything we possibly can?'

`I agree with you to a certain extent, dear husband,' replied she, `but you do not know how dreadfully the heat
among the rocks tries me. It is almost intolerable to us who remain here all day while you and Fritz are away
out at sea, or wandering among the shady woods, where cool fruits refresh, and fair scenes delight you.

`As to the contents of the ship, an immense deal has been cast ashore, and I would much rather give up all the
remainder, and be spared the painful anxiety it gives me when you even talk of venturing again on the faithless

`Well, I must admit that there is much right on your side,' I continued; `suppose we were to remove to your
chosen abode, and make this rocky fastness our magazine and place of retreat in case of danger. I could easily
render it still more secure, by blasting portions of the rock with gunpowder. But a bridge must be constructed
in the first place, to enable us to cross bag and baggage.'

`Oh, I shall be parched to death before we can leave this place, if a bridge has to be made,' cried my wife
impatiently. `Why not just take our things on our backs and wade across as we have done already? The
cow and the donkey could carry a great deal.'
`That they will have to do, in whatever fashion we make the move,' said I; `but bags and baskets we must have,
to put things in, and if you will turn your attention to providing those, I will set about the bridge at once. It will
be wanted not once, but continually; the stream will probably swell and be impassable at times, and even as it
is, an accident might happen.'

`Well, well!' cried my wife, `I submit to your opinion; only pray set about it without delay, for I long to be off.
It is an excellent idea to make a strong place among the cliffs here; the gunpowder especially, I shall be
delighted to see stored here when we go away, for it is frightfully dangerous to keep so much as we have close
to our habitation.'

`Gunpowder is indeed the most dangerous and at the same time the most useful thing we have,' said I, `and for
both these reasons we must be especially careful of it. In time I will hollow out a place in the rock where we can
store it safe from either fire or damp.'

By this morning's consultation we had settled the weighty question of our change of abode, and also chalked out
work for the day. When the children heard of the proposed move their joy was boundless; they began at once to
talk of it as our `journey to the Promised Land', and only regretted that time must be `wasted', as they said, in
bridge-building before it could be undertaken.

Everyone being impatient for breakfast that work might be begun at once, the cow and goats were milked, and,
having enjoyed a comfortable meal of biscuit boiled in milk, I prepared to start for the wreck, in order to obtain
planks for the proposed bridge.

Ernest as well as Fritz accompanied me, and we were soon within the influence of the current, and were carried
swiftly out to sea. Fritz was steering, and we had no sooner passed beyond the islet at the entrance of the bay, so
as to come in sight of its seaward beach, than we were astonished to see a countless multitude of sea-birds, gulls
and others, which rose like a cloud into the air, disturbed by our approach, and deafened us by their wild and
screaming cries.

Fritz caught up his gun, and would have sent a shot among them had I permitted it. I was very curious to find
out what could be the great attraction for all this swarm of feathered fowl; and, availing myself of a fresh breeze
from the sea, I set the sail and directed our course towards the island.

The swelling sail and flying pennant charmed Ernest, while Fritz bent his keen eyes eagerly towards the sandy
shore, where the flocks of birds were again settling.

Presently he shouted, `Aha, now I see what they are after! They have got a huge monster of a fish there, and a
proper feast they are making! Let's have a nearer look at it, father!'

We could not take our boat very close in, but we managed to effect a landing at a short distance from the festive
scene; and, securing the raft by casting a rope round a large stone, we cautiously drew near the object of

It proved to be a monstrous fish, on whose flesh these multitudes of birds were ravenously feeding; and it was
extraordinary to watch the ferocity, the envy, the gluttony, and all manner of evil passions, exhibited among the
guests at this banquet.

`There was nothing on this sandy beach when we passed yesterday, I am certain, father,' said Fritz. `It seems
strange to see this creature stranded here.'
`Why, Fritz!' cried Ernest, `it must be the shark! Your shark, you know! I believe I can see where you hit him in
the head.'

`You are right, I do believe, Ernest,' said I, `though I think your imagination only can distinguish the gunshot
wounds among all the pecking and tearing of the voracious birds there. Just look, boys, at those terrific jaws,
beneath the strangely projecting snout. See the rows upon rows of murderous teeth, and thank God we were
delivered from them! Let us try if we can induce these greedy birds to spare us a bit of the shark's skin; it is
extremely rough, and when dry may be used like a file.'

Ernest drew the ramrod from his gun, and charged so manfully into the crowd, that striking right and left he
speedily killed several, whilst most of the others took to flight. Fritz detached some broad strips of skin with his
knife, and we returned towards the boat.

Perceiving with satisfaction that the shore was strewn with just the sort of boards and planks I wanted, I lost no
time in collecting them; and, forming a raft to tow after us, we were in a short time able to direct our course
homeward, without visiting the wreck at all.

As we sailed along, extremely well pleased with our good fortune, Fritz, by my direction, nailed part of the
shark's skin flat on boards to dry in the sun and the rest on the rounded mast.

`Will that be a good idea, father?' inquired he, `it will be quite bent and crooked when it hardens.'

`That is just what I want it to be,' said I, `we may happen to find it useful in that form as well as flat. It would be
beautiful shagreen with which we could smooth and polish wood.'

`I thought,' remarked Ernest, `that shagreen was made from asses' hides.'

`And you thought rightly,' said I. `The best shagreen is prepared in Turkey, Persia, and Tartary, from the skins
of horses and asses. In these skins, the roughness is produced artificially; while the skin is newly flayed and still
soft, hard grains of corn are spread on the under surface, and pressed into it as it dries. These grains are
afterward removed, and the roughness imparted to the appearance of the skin remains indelibly; shagreen is
useful in polishing joiners' work, and it is made in France from the rough skin of a hideous creature called the

`Angel-fish!' exclaimed Fritz; `what a name to give to anything "hideous," father!'

`There are bad angels as well as good ones,' observed Ernest, in his dry, quiet way; `it is better to leave people
to see for themselves which is meant.'

By this time we were close in shore; and, lowering the sail, we soon had our craft with the raft in tow, safely
moored to the bank.

No one was in sight, not a sound to be heard, so with united voice we gave a loud cheery halloo, which after a
while was answered in shrill tones, and my wife with her two boys came running from behind the high rocks
between us and the stream, each carrying a small bundle in a handkerchief, while little Franz held aloft a

Our return so soon was quite unexpected, and they anxiously inquired the reason, which we soon explained; and
then the mysterious bundles were opened, and a great number of fine crawfish displayed; whose efforts to
escape by scuttling away in every direction, directly they were placed in a heap on the ground, caused immense
fun and laughter as the boys pursued and brought them back, only to find others scrambling off in a dozen
different ways.
`Now, father, have we not done well, today!' cried Jack, `did you ever see such a splendid crawfish? Oh, there
were thousands of them, and I am sure we have got two hundred here at least. Just look at their claws!'

`No doubt you were the discoverer of these fine crabs, eh, Jack?' said
`No! Fancy young Franz being the lucky man!' answered he. `He and I went towards the stream while mother
was busy, just to look for a good place for the bridge. Franz was picking up pebbles and alabasters, some
because they were so pretty, some to strike sparks with in the dark, and some he insisted were "gold."

`"Jack! Jack!" cried he presently, "come and see the crabs on Fritz's jackal!" You know we threw it away there,
and to be sure it was swarming with these creatures. Are you glad we have found them, father? Will they be
good to eat?'

`Very excellent, my boy, and we may be thankful that food for our wants is thus provided day by day.'

When each party had related the day's adventures, and while my wife was cooking the crawfish, we went to
bring our store of planks to land. Even this apparently simple operation required thought, and I had to improvise
rope-harness for the cow and the donkey, by which we could make them drag each board separately from the
water's edge to the margin of the stream.

Jack showed me where he thought the bridge should be, and I certainly saw no better place, as the banks were at
that point tolerably close to one another, steep, and of about equal height. `How shall we find out if our planks
are long enough to reach across?' said I. `A surveyor's table would be useful now.'

`What do you say to a ball of string, father?' said Ernest. `Tie one end to a stone, throw it across, then draw it
back, and measure the line!'

Adopting my son's idea, we speedily ascertained the distance across to be eighteen feet. Then allowing three
feet more at each side, I calculated twenty-four feet as the necessary length of the boards.

The question as to how the planks were to be laid across was a difficult one. We resolved to discuss it during
dinner, to which we were now summoned. And my wife, as we sat resting, displayed to me her needlework.
With hard labour had she made two large canvas bags for the ass to carry. Having no suitable needle, she had
been obliged to bore the hole for each stitch with a nail, and gained great praise for her ingenuity and patience.

Dinner was quickly dispatched, as we were all eager to continue our engineering work. A scheme had occurred
to me for conveying one end of a plank across the water, and I set about it in this way.

There fortunately were one or two trees close to the stream on either side; I attached a rope pretty near one end
of a beam, and slung it loosely to the tree beside us; then, fastening a long rope to the other end, I crossed with
it by means of broken rocks and stones, and having a pulley and block, I soon arranged the rope on a strong
limb of the opposite tree, again returning with the end to our own side.

Now putting my idea to the proof, I brought the ass and the cow, and fastening this rope to the harness I had
previously contrived for them, I drove them steadily away from the bank. To my great satisfaction, and the
surprise and delight of the boys, the end of the plank which had been laid alongside the stream began gently to
move, rose higher, turned, and soon projecting over the water continued to advance, until, having described the
segment of a circle, it reached the opposite bank.

I stopped my team, the plank rested on the ground, the bridge was made! So at least thought Fritz and Jack, who
in a moment were lightly running across the narrow way, shouting joyfully as they sprang to the other side.
Our work was now comparatively easy. A second and third plank were laid beside the first; and when these
were carefully secured at each end to the ground and to the trees, we very quickly laid short boards side by side
across the beams, the boys nailing them lightly down as I sawed them in lengths; and when this was done, our
bridge was pronounced complete.

Nothing could exceed the excitement of the children. They danced to and fro on the wonderful structure,
singing, shouting and cutting the wildest capers. I must confess I heartily sympathized with their triumphant

Now that the work was done, we began to feel how much we were fatigued, and gladly returned to our tent for
refreshment and repose.

Next morning, while we breakfasted, I made a little speech to my sons on the subject of the important move we
were about to make, wishing to impress them with a sense of the absolute necessity of great caution.

`Remember,' said I, `that, although you all begin to feel very much at your ease here, we are yet complete
strangers to a variety of dangers which may surprise us unawares. I charge you, therefore, to maintain good
order, and keep together on the march. No darting off into bye-ways, Jack. No lingering behind to philosophize,
Ernest. And now all hands to work.'

The greatest activity instantly prevailed in our camp. Some collected provisions, others packed kitchen utensils,
tools, ropes, and hammocks, arranging them as burdens for the cow and ass.

My wife pleaded for a seat on the latter for her little Franz, and assuring me likewise that she could not possibly
leave the poultry, even for a night, nor exist an hour without her magic bag, I agreed to do my best to please her,
without downright cruelty to animals.

Away ran the children to catch the cocks and hens. Great chasing, fluttering and cackling ensued; but with no
success whatever, until my wife recalled her panting sons, and, scattering some handfuls of grain within the
open tent, soon decoyed the fowls and pigeons into the enclosure; where, when the curtain was dropped, they
were easily caught, tied together, and placed on the cow.

This amiable and phlegmatic animal had stood calmly chewing the cud, while package after package was
disposed on her broad back, nor did she now object even to this noisy addition to her load. I placed a couple
of half-hoops over all; and, spreading sailcloth on them, put the fowls in darkness, and they rapidly became
quiet; and the cow, with the appearance of having a small waggon on her back, was ready to start.

Franz was firmly seated on the ass, amidst bags and bundles of all sorts and sizes; they rose about him like
cushions and pillows, and his curly head rested on the precious magic bag, which surmounted all the rest.
Having filled the tent with the things we left behind, closing it carefully, and ranging chests and casks around it,
we were finally ready to be off, each well equipped and in the highest spirits.

Fritz and his mother led the van. Franz (the young cavalier), and the sober-minded cow followed them closely.

Jack conducted the goats; one of these had also a rider, for Knips the monkey was seated on his foster-mother,
whose patience was sorely tried by his restlessness and playful tricks.

The sheep were under Ernest's care, and I brought up the rear of this patriarchal band, while the two dogs kept
constantly running backwards and forwards in the character of aides-de-camp.

`We seem delightfully like those simple and pastoral tribes I have read of,' said Ernest, as we proceeded, `whose
whole lives are spent in shifting from place to place, without any wish to settle.'
`Yes,' said I. `Among the Arabs, Tartars, and some other Eastern nations, this mode of live is natural. They for
that reason are called Nomads.

`These tribes are amply provided with camels and horses, and effect their journeys more quickly and
conveniently than we are likely to do with these deliberate quadrupeds of ours. Whatever you young folks may
think, I suspect your mother and I will be quite satisfied with one such undertaking. At least I hope she will be
contended with the nest she intends me to build for her up in her wonderful trees.'

With honest pride I introduced my wife to my bridge, and after receiving from her what I considered well-
merited praise for my skill in its construction, we passed over it in grand procession, reinforced unexpectedly on
the opposite side by the arrival of our cross-grained old sow. The perverse creature had obstinately resisted our
attempts to bring her with us, but finding herself deserted, had followed of her own accord, testifying in the
most unmistakable manner, by angry grunts and squeals, her entire disapproval of our proceedings.

I soon found we must, as before, turn down to the sea beach, for not only did the rank grass impede our
progress, but it also tempted the animals to break away from us, and, but for our watchful dogs, we might
have lost several of them.

On the firm, open sands we were making good way, when to my annoyance, both our dogs suddenly left us, and
springing into the thick cover to our right, commenced a furious barking, following by howling as if in
fear and violent pain.

Not for a moment doubting that some dangerous animal was at hand, I hastened to the spot, remarking as I went
the characteristic behaviour of my three older sons.

Fritz cocked his gun and advanced boldly, but with caution. Ernest looked disconcerted, and drew back, but got
ready to fire, while Jack hurried after Fritz without so much as unslinging his gun from his shoulders.

Before I could come up with them, I heard Jack shouting excitedly:

`Father! Father! Come quickly! A huge porcupine! A most enormous porcupine!'

Sure enough, the dogs were rushing round and round a porcupine, and having attempted to seize it, were already
severely wounded by its quills. Each time they came near, the creature, with a rattling noise, bristled up its

Somewhat to my amusement, while we were looking at the curious defense this creature was making, little Jack
stepped close up to it, with a pocket pistol in his hand, and shot it dead, making sure of it by a couple of hearty
raps on the head, and then giving way to a burst of boyish exultation, he called upon us to help to convey his
prize to his mother. This it was not by any means easy to do. Sundry attempts resulted in bloody fingers, till
Jack, taking his pocket-handkerchief, and fastening one corner round its neck, ran off, dragging it after him
to where his mother awaited us.

`Hullo, mother! Here's a jolly beast, isn't it? I shot it, and it's good to eat! Father says so! I only wish you had
seen how it terrified the dogs, and heard the rattling and rustling of its spines. Oh, it is a fearful creature!'

Ernest, examining it carefully, pronounced its incisor teeth, its ears and feet, to resemble those of the human
race, and pointed out the curious crest of stiff hairs on its head and neck.
`I have read of another species,' said he, `called the tuft-tailed porcupine, which must be even more curious-
looking than this is. It has short flat quills, and a scaly tail ending in an extraordinary tuft, like a bunch of
narrow strips of parchment. It cannot be such a disagreeable enemy to encounter as this fellow.'

`Were you not afraid, Jack,' asked I, `lest the porcupine should cast some of his quills like darts at you?'

`Of course not,' returned he, `I know well enough that is nothing but a fable!'

`A fable!' said I, `why look at your mother! She is drawing five or six spines out of each of the dogs!'

`Ah, those stuck into them when they so fiercely fell upon it in their attack. Those are the shortest quills, and
seem very slightly fixed in its skin. The long quills bent aside when Juno pressed against them.'

`You are perfectly right, my boy,' said I, `there is no truth in the old idea of shooting out the spines. But now,
shall we leave this prickly booty of yours, or attempt to take it with us?'

`Oh, please, father, let us take it! Why, it is good to eat!'

Smiling at the child's eagerness, and willing to please him, I made a somewhat awkward bundle of the
porcupine, wrapping it in several folds of cloth, and added it to the donkey's load.

Our party then resumed the march, which, with little interruption, was continued steadily, until we came in sight
of our future place of residence.

The wonderful appearance of the enormous trees, and the calm beauty of the spot altogether, fully came up to
the enthusiastic description which had been given to me. And my wife gladly heard me say that if an abode
could be contrived among the branches, it would be the safest and most charming home in the world.

We hastily unloaded the ass and cow, securing them, as well as the sheep and goats, by tying their fore-feet
loosely together.

The doves and poultry were set at liberty, and we sat down to rest among the soft herbage while we laid our
plans for the night.

Fritz soon left us, but presently two shots were fired, and he appeared holding a fine tiger-cat by the hind legs,
which, with the intensest delight, he exhibited to each in turn.

`Well done, Fritz!' cried I. `Our cocks and hens would have had an unfortunate night of it but for this lucky shot
of yours. It is to be hoped he has left no companion near at hand. You must be on the look-out.'

`How curious it seems,' remarked Ernest, `that God should create hurtful animals like this.'

`To our feeble and narrow vision many of the ways of the Infinite and Eternal Mind are incomprehensible,' I
replied. `What our limited reason cannot grasp, let us be content to acknowledge as the workings of Almighty
power and wisdom, and thankfully trust in that "Rock," which, were it not higher than we, would afford no
sense of security to the immortal soul.

`That animals should prey upon one another is a means of preserving a due balance in the world of nature. What
beautiful and warm furs are procured by hunters just in those countries where no other covering would defend
the inhabitants from the wintery cold!--As, for instance, the skins of bears, wolverines, and arctic foxes, wild
cats, and many others.'
`The skin of the seal, or sea dog, is also valuable,' said Ernest.

`It is,' I replied,`and in its own element that creature preys on fish as the dog did on land animals before his race
became domesticated by man. But now, Fritz, tell us how you obtained your prize.'

`Observing that something moved among the branches,' said he, `I went softly round the tree with my gun, and
making sure the creature was a wild cat I fired and brought it down. It was severely wounded, but, rising in a
fury, it attempted to climb the tree, when I luckily having a loaded pistol, gave it a quietus. And do tell me,
father, what sort of cat it is.'

`It is a mercy the brute did not fly at your throat instead of attempting to escape,' said I. `It belongs to a fierce
and blood-thirsty race--that of the ocelots or tiger-cats, natives of the tropical parts of America. I should say this
was a margay, and as it would have proved a cruel foe, not only of our poultry, but also of our sheep and goats,
I am well pleased that you have rid us of it.'

`May I have the beautiful skin, father? And will you tell me what will be the best use to make of it?'

`I advise you to skin the animal very carefully, and of the handsome black and yellow tail, make a hunting-belt
for yourself. The paws--let me see--why, I fancy the paws might be made famous cases for knife, fork and
spoon, and look well hanging from the belt. The skin of the body you had better preserve until you find some
suitable use for it.'

`Oh, father, what a splendid plan!' cried Jack. `Do tell me some good use for my porcupine.'

`I think its feet may make cases also; at least, you may try. The quills, I am sure, may be used for packing
needles, and for tipping arrows, and I should try to make defensive armour for the dogs out of the rest. They
may fall in with foes more dangerous than any we have yet seen.'

`To be sure, father, the very thing!' shouted Jack in high glee. `I have seen pictures of boar-hunts, in which the
dogs were protected by a sort of leather coat of mail. That will be grand!'

After giving this advice, I got no peace until I had shown my boys how to act upon it, and in a short time each
had his prize fastened up by the hind legs, and carefully slitting the skin, was stripping it from the carcase.

Ernest, meanwhile, was fetching large flat stones in order to form a fire-place, while Franz gathered sticks, as
his mother was anxious to prepare some food.

`What sort of tree do you suppose this to be, father?' inquired Ernest, seeing me examining that under which we
were encamping. `Is not the leaf something like a walnut?'

`There is a resemblance, but in my opinion these gigantic trees must be mangroves or wild figs. I have heard
their enormous height described, and also the peculiarity of the arching roots supporting the main trunk raised
above the soil.'

Just then little Franz came up with a large bundle of sticks, and his mouth full of something he was eating with
evident satisfaction.

`Oh, mother!' cried he, `this is so good! So delicious!'

`Greedy little boy!' exclaimed she in a fright. `What have you got there? Don't swallow it, whatever you do.
Very likely it is poisonous! Spit it all out this minute!' And his anxious mother quickly extracted from the rosy
little mouth the remains of a small fig.
`Where did you find this?' said I.

`There are thousands lying among the grass yonder,' replied the little boy. `They taste very nice. I thought
poison was nasty. Do you think they will hurt me? The pigeons and the hens are gobbling them up with
all their might and main, papa!'

`I think you have no cause for alarm, dear wife,' I said. `The trees seem to be the fig-bearing mangrove of the
Antilles. But remember, Franz, you must never eat anything without first showing it to me, never mind how
good it seems.

`If birds and monkeys eat a fruit or vegetable, it is usually safe to believe it wholesome,' added I, turning to the
other boys, who instantly taking the hint, coaxed Franz to give them the figs he still had in his pocket, and ran to
offer them to Knips, who was closely watching the skinning of the tiger-cat and porcupine, apparently giving
his opinion on the subject with much chattering and gesticulation.

`Here, Knips, allow me to present you with a fig!' cried Jack, holding one out to the funny little creature.

Knips took it readily, and after turning it about, and sniffing and smelling it, he popped it into his mouth, with
such a droll grimace of delight and satisfaction that the boys all laughed and clapped their hands, crying `Bravo,
Knips! You know a good thing when you see it, don't you, old fellow! Hurrah!'

My wife, with her mind set at rest on the question of the figs, now continued her preparations for dinner.

The flesh of the margay was given to the dogs, but part of the porcupine was put on the fire to boil, while we
reserved the rest for roasting.

I employed myself in contriving needles for my wife's work, by boring holes at one end of the quills, which I
did by means of a red hot nail, and I soon had a nice packet of various sizes, which pleased her immensely. I
also laid plans for making proper harness for our beasts of burden, but could not attempt to begin that while so
many wants more pressing demanded attention.

We examined the different trees, and chose one which seemed most suited to our purpose. The branches spread
at a great height above us, and I made the boys try if it were possible to throw sticks or stones over one of these,
my intention being to construct a rope ladder if we could once succeed in getting a string across a strong bough.

Finding we could not succeed in that way, I resolved other schemes in my mind, and meantime went with Jack
and Fritz to a small brook close by, where I showed them how to place the skins to steep and soften in the
water, with stones placed on them to keep them beneath the surface.

When dinner was over, I prepared our night quarters. I first slung our hammocks from the roots of the tree,
which, meeting above us, formed an arched roof, then covering the whole with sailcloth, we made a temporary
tent, which would at least keep off the night damps and noxious insects.

Leaving my wife engaged in making a set of harness for the ass and cow, whose strength I intended to employ
the following day in drawing the beams up to our tree, I walked down with Fritz and Ernest to the beach to look
for wood suitable for building our new abode and also to discover, if possible, some light rods to form a ladder.

For some time we hunted in vain, nothing but rough driftwood was to be seen, utterly unfit for our purpose.
Ernest at length pointed out a quantity of bamboos half buried in the sand. These were exactly what I wanted,
and stripping them of their leaves I cut them into lengths of about five feet each; these I bound in bundles to
carry to the tree, and then began to look about for some slight reeds to serve as arrows.
I presently saw what I required in a copse at a little distance. We advanced cautiously lest the thicket should
contain some wild beast or venomous serpent. Juno rushed ahead; as she did so a flock of flamingos, which had
been quietly feeding, rose in the air. Fritz instantly firing brought a couple of the birds to the ground, the rest
of the squadron sailing away in perfect order, their plumage continually changing, as they flew, from beautiful
rose to pure white, as alternately their snowy wings and rosy breasts were visible.

One of those which fell was perfectly dead, but the other appeared only slightly wounded in the wing, for it
made off across the swampy ground. I attempted to follow, but soon found that progress was impossible on
the marsh; Juno, however, chased the bird and, seizing it, speedily brought it to my feet. Fritz and Ernest were
delighted at the sight of our prize.

`What a handsome bird!' exclaimed they. `Is it much hurt? Let us tame it and let it run about with the fowls.'

`Its plumage is much more brilliant than that of the dead one,' remarked Fritz.

`Yes,' said Ernest, `this is a full-grown bird, while yours is younger; it is some years before they reach
perfection. See what long active legs it has, like those of a stork, while with its great webbed feet it can swim
faster than a goose. Earth, air, or water is all the same to the flamingo, it is equally at home in any one of the

`Well,' said Fritz, `let us take the dead one to mother and get her to introduce it to the other element and see
what it will make of that; if it is young and tender, as you say, it should make a delicious roast.'

Fritz and Ernest then carried the birds and bamboos to the tree, while I proceeded to cut my reeds. I chose those
which had flowered, knowing that they were harder, and having cut a sufficient quantity of these, I selected one
or two of the tallest canes I could find to assist me in measuring the height of the tree. I then bound them
together and returned to my family.

`Do you mean to keep this great hungry bird Fritz has brought?' said my wife. `It is another mouth to feed,
remember, and provisions are still scarce.'

`Luckily,' I replied, `the flamingo will not eat grain like our poultry, but will be quite satisfied with insects, fish,
and little crabs, which it will pick up for itself. Pray reassure yourself, therefore, and let me see to the poor
bird's wound.'

So saying, I procured some wine and butter and anointing the wing, which though hurt was not broken, I bound
it up, and then took the bird to the stream where I fastened it by a long cord to a stake and left it to shift for
itself. In a few days the wound was healed, and the bird, subdued by kind treatment, became rapidly tame.

While I was thus employed my sons were endeavouring to ascertain the height of the lowest branch of the tree
from the ground. They had fastened together the long reeds I had brought with them, and were trying to
measure the distance, but in vain; they soon found that were the rods ten times their length they could not touch
the branch.

`Hello, my boys,' I said, when I discovered what they were about, `that is not the way to set to work. Geometry
will simplify the operation considerably; with its help the altitude of the highest mountains are ascertained; we
may, therefore, easily find the height of that branch.'

So saying, I measured out a certain distance from the base of the tree and marked the spot, and then by means of
a rod, whose length I knew, and imaginary lines, I calculated the angle subtended by the trunk of the tree from
the ground to the root of the branch. This done, I was able to discover the height required, and, to the
astonishment of the younger children, announced that we should henceforth live thirty feet above the ground.
This I wanted to know, that I might construct a ladder of the necessary length.

Telling Fritz to collect all our cord, and the others to roll all the twine into a ball, I sat down and taking the
reeds, speedily manufactured half a dozen arrows and feathered them from the dead flamingo. I then took a
strong bamboo, bent it and strung it so as to form a bow. When the boys saw what I had done they were
delighted, and begged to have the pleasure of firing the first shot.

`No, no!' said I, `I did not make this for mere pleasure, nor is it even intended as a weapon, the arrows are
pointless. Elizabeth,' I continued to my wife, `can you supply me with a ball of stout thread from your
wonderful bag?'

`Certainly,' replied she, `I think that a ball of thread was the first thing to enter the bag,' and diving her hand
deep in, she drew out the very thing I wanted.

`Now, boys,' I said, `I am going to fire the first shot,' and I fastened one end of the thread to one of my arrows
and aimed at a large branch above me. The arrow flew upwards and bore the thread over the branch and fell at
our feet. Thus was the first step in our undertaking accomplished. Now for the rope ladder!

Fritz had obtained two coils of cord each about forty feet in length; these we stretched on the ground side by
side; then Fritz cut the bamboos into pieces of two feet for the steps of the ladder, and as he handed them to me,
I passed them through knots which I had prepared in the ropes, while Jack fixed each end with a nail driven
through the wood. When the ladder was finished, I carried over the bough a rope by which it might be hauled
up. This done, I fixed the lower end of the ladder firmly to the ground by means of stakes, and all was ready for
an ascent. The boys who had been watching me with intense interest were each eager to be first.

`Jack shall have the honour,' said I, `as he is the lightest, so up with you, my boy, and do not break your neck.'

Jack, who was as active as a monkey, sprang up the ladder and quickly gained the top.

`Three cheers for the nest!' he exclaimed, waving his cap.

`Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for our jolly nest! What a grand house we will have up here; come along, Fritz!'

His brother was soon by his side, and with a hammer and nails secured the ladder yet more securely. I followed
with an axe, and took a survey of the tree. It was admirably suited to our purpose; the branches were very strong
and so closely interwoven that no beams would be required to form a flooring, but when some of the boughs
were lopped and cleared away, a few planks would be quite sufficient.

I now called for a pulley, which my wife fastened to the cord hanging beside the ladder, I hauled it up, and
finding the boys rather in my way, told them to go down while I proceeded to fasten the pulley to a stout branch
above me, that we might be able to haul up the beams we should require the next day. I then made other
preparations that there might be no delay on the morrow, and a bright moon having arisen, I by its light
continued working until I was quite worn out, and then at length descended.

I reached the ground, but to my surprise found that the two boys were not there. They had not been seen. A
moment afterwards, however, all anxiety was dispelled, for amongst the topmost boughs I heard their young
voices raised in the evening hymn.

Instead of descending, they had, while I was busy, climbed upwards, and had been sitting in silent admiration of
the moonlight scene, high above me. They now joined us, and my wife showed me the results of her labour. She
had made two complete sets of harness. I congratulated her upon her success, and we then sat down to supper.
On a cloth spread out upon the grass were arranged a roast shoulder of porcupine, a delicious bowl of soup
made from a piece of the same animal, cheese, butter, and biscuits, forming a most tempting repast. Having
done this ample justice, we collected our cattle, and the pigeons and fowls having retired to roost on the
neighbouring trees, and on the steps of our ladder, we made up a glorious fire to keep off any prowling wild
beasts, and ourselves lay down.

The children, in spite of the novelty of the hammocks, were quickly asleep. In vain I tried to follow their
example; a thousand anxious thoughts presented themselves, and as quickly as I dispelled them others rose in
their place. The night wore on, and I was still awake; the fire burned low, and I rose and replenished it with dry
fuel. Then again I climbed into my hammock, and towards morning fell asleep.

Early next morning we were astir, and dispersed to our various occupations. My wife milked the goats and cow,
while we gave the animals their food, after which we went down to the beach, to collect more wood for our
building operations.

To the larger beams we harnessed the cow and ass, while we ourselves dragged up the remainder. Fritz and I
then ascended the tree, and finished the preparations I had begun the night before; all useless boughs we lopped
off, leaving a few about six feet from the floor, from which we might sling our hammocks, and others still
higher, to support a temporary roof of sailcloth.

My wife made fast the planks to a rope passed through the block I had fixed to the bough above us, and by this
means Fritz and I hauled them up. These we arranged side by side on the foundation of boughs, so as to form a
smooth solid floor, and round this platform built a bulwark of planks, and then throwing the sailcloth over the
higher branches, we drew it down and firmly nailed it. Our house was thus enclosed on three sides, for behind
the great trunk protected us, while the front was left open to admit the fresh sea breeze which blew directly in.

We then hauled up our hammocks and bedding and slung them from the branches we had left for that purpose.
A few hours of daylight still remaining, we cleared the floor from leaves and chips, and then descended to
fashion a table and a few benches from the remainder of the wood. After working like slaves all day, Fritz and I
flung ourselves on the grass, while my wife arranged supper on the table we had made.

`Come,' said she at length, `come and taste flamingo stew, and tell me how you like it. Ernest assured me that it
would be much better stewed than roasted, and I have been following his directions.'

Laughing at the idea of Ernest turning scientific cook we sat down. The fowls gathered round us to pick up the
crumbs, and the tame flamingo joined them, while Master Knips skipped about from one to the other, chattering
and mimicking our gestures continually.

To my wife's joy, the sow appeared shortly after, and was presented with all the milk that remained from the
day's stock that she might be persuaded to return every night.

`For,' said my wife, `this surplus milk is really of no use to us, as it will be sour before the morning in this hot

`You are quite right,' I replied, `but we must contrive to make it of use. The next time Fritz and I return to the
wreck we will bring off a churn amongst the other things we require.'

`Must you really go again to that dreadful wreck?' said my wife shuddering. `You have no idea how anxious I
am when you are away there.'
`Go we must, I am afraid,' I replied, `but not for a day or two yet. Come, it is getting late. We and the chickens
must go to roost.'

We lit our watch fires, and, leaving the dogs on guard below, ascended the ladder. Fritz, Ernest and Jack were
up in a moment.

Their mother followed very cautiously, for though she had originated the idea of building a nest, she yet
hesitated to entrust herself at such a terrific height from the ground. When she was safely landed in the house,
taking little Franz on my back, I let go the fastenings which secured the lower end of the ladder to the ground,
and swinging to and fro, slowly ascended.

Then for the first time we stood all together in our new home. I drew up the ladder, and, with a greater sense of
security than I had enjoyed since we landed on the island, offered up our evening prayer, and retired for the
                                                 Chapter 4

Next morning all were early awake, and the children sprang about the tree like young monkeys.

`What shall we begin to do, father?' they cried. `What do you want us to do, today?'

`Rest, my boys,' I replied, `rest.'

`Rest?' repeated they. `Why should we rest?'

`"Six days shalt thou labour and do all that thou hast to do, but on the seventh, thou shalt do no manner of
work." This is the seventh day,' I replied, `on it, therefore, let us rest.'

`What, is it really Sunday?' said Jack, `How jolly! Oh, I won't do any work; but I'll take a bow and arrow and
shoot, and we'll climb about the tree and have fun all day.'

`That is not resting,' said I, `that is not the way you are accustomed to spend the Lord's day.'

`No! But then we can't go to church here, and there is nothing else to do.'

`We can worship here as well as at home,' said I.

`But there is no church, no clergyman and no organ,' said Franz.

`The leafy shade of this great tree is far more beautiful than any church,' I said, `there will we worship our
Creator. Come, boys, down with you: turn our dining hall into a breakfast room.'

The children, one by one, slipped down the ladder.

`My dear Elizabeth,' said I, `this morning we will devote to the service of the Lord, and by means of a parable, I
will endeavor to give the children some serious thought; but, without books, or the possibility of any of the
usual Sunday occupations, we cannot keep them quiet the whole day; afterward, therefore I shall allow them to
pursue any innocent recreation they choose, and in the cool of the evening we will take a walk.'

My wife entirely agreed with my proposal, and having breakfasted, the family assembled round me, as we sat in
the pleasant shade on the fresh, soft grass.

After singing some hymns and offering heartfelt prayers to the Almighty Giver of all good, I told the children I
would relate to them a parable instead of preaching a sermon.

`Oh, that would be delightful! I like the parables in the Bible better than anything,' said Franz. `When can we
hear you read out of the Bible again, father?'

`Ah, my little boy, your words reproach me,' returned I. `While eagerly striving to procure from the ship would
feed our bodies and provide for their comfort, I blush to think that I have neglected the Bread of Life, the word
of God. I shall search for a Bible on my next return to the wreck: although our own books were nearly all
destroyed, I am pretty sure to find one.'
At these words my wife arose, and fetching her magic bag, she drew from it a copy of the Holy Scriptures,
which I thankfully received from her hand; and after reading aloud from its sacred pages, I spoke as
follows: `A Great King, ruling in power and splendor over a vast realm of light and love, possessed within its
boundaries a desolate and unfruitful island. This spot he made the object of his special care; and, lavishing on it
all the varied resources of his might and goodness, it bloomed in beauty, and became the happy residence of a
band of colonists, who were charged not only with the cultivation and improvement of the soil, but each,
individually, was bound to cherish in his soul the spirit of love and true allegiance to his Sovereign.

`While this faithful union was maintained, the colony flourished; and the noblest virtues exalted and rendered
happy the existence of every member of the race.

`That a discontented and rebellious spirit should ever have infected these fortunate subjects of so loving a
master, seems incredible, yet it was so; disobedience and pride brought misery and punishment, the fair
prospects of the colony were blighted, the labours of the colonists were unblessed, and total separation from the
parent kingdom seemed inevitable.

`A message of pardon--of free forgiveness--was nevertheless accorded to these rebels; and to all who, humbly
accepting it, molded their future lives to the will of the Great King (now revealed in a character even more
racious than before), was held out the promise of removal at last from among the ruins caused by the great
rebellion, to the glory and undimmed splendor of the realm of Light and Blessedness.'

Having interested the children, I then, leaving allegory, pressed simply and earnestly home to each young heart
the truths I sought to teach; and, with a short prayer for a blessing on my words, brought the service to a close.

After a thoughtful pause, we separated, and each employed himself as he felt disposed.

I took some arrows, and endeavoured to point them with porcupine quills.

Franz came to beg me make a little bow and arrow for him to shoot with, while Fritz asked my advice about the
tiger-cat skin and the cases he was to contrive from it. Jack assisted with the arrow-making, and inserting a
sharp spine at one end of each reed made it fast with pack-thread, and began to wish for glue to ensure its
remaining firm.

`Oh, Jack! Mamma's soup is as sticky as anything!' cried Franz. `Shall I run and ask for a cake of it?'

`No, no, little goose! Better look for some real glue in the tool-box.'

`There he will find glue, to be sure,' said I, `and the soup would scarcely have answered your purpose. But Jack,
my boy, I do not like to hear you ridicule your little brother's idea. Some of the most valuable discoveries have
been the result of thoughts which originally appeared no wiser than his.'

While thus directing and assisting my sons, we were surprised by hearing a shot just over heads; at the same
moment two small birds fell dead at our feet, and looking up, we beheld Ernest among the branches, as bending
his face joyfully towards us, he cried, `Well hit! Well hit! A good shot, wasn't it?'

Then slipping down the ladder, and picking up the birds, he brought them to me. One was a kind of thrush, the
other a small dove called the ortolan, and esteemed a very great delicacy on account of its exquisite flavour.

As the figs on which these birds came to feed were only just beginning to ripen, it was probable that they would
soon flock in numbers to our trees; and by waiting until we could procure them in large quantities, we might
provide ourselves with valuable food for the rainy season, by placing them, when half cooked, in casks with
melted lard or butter poured over them.
By this time Jack had pointed a good supply of arrows, and industriously practised archery. I finished the bow
and arrows for Franz, and expected to be left in peace; but the young man next demanded a quiver, and I had to
invent that also, to complete his equipment. It was easily done by stripping a piece of bark from a small tree,
fitting a flat side and a bottom to it, and then a string. Attaching it to his shoulders, the youthful hunter filled it
with arrows and went off; looking, as his mother said, like an innocent little Cupid, bent on conquest.

Not long after this, we were summoned to dinner, and all right willingly obeyed the call.

During the meal I interested the boys very much by proposing to decide on suitable names for the different
spots we had visited on this coast.

`For,' said I, `it will become more and more troublesome to explain what we mean, unless we do so. Besides
which, we shall feel much more at home if we can talk as people do in inhabited countries: instead of saying,
for instance, "the little island at the mouth of our bay, where we found the dead shark", "the large stream near
our tent, across which we made the bridge", "that wood where we found cocoanuts, and caught the monkey",
and so on. Let us begin by naming the bay in which we landed. What shall we call it?'

`Oyster Bay,' said Fritz.

`No, no!--Lobster Bay,' cried Jack, `in memory of the old fellow who took a fancy to my leg!'

`I think,' observed his mother, `that, in token of gratitude for our escape, we should call it Safety Bay.'

This name met with general approbation, and was forthwith fixed upon.

Other names were quickly chosen. Our first place of abode we called Tentholm; the islet in the bay, Shark's
Island; and the reedy swamp, Flamingo Marsh. It was some time before the serious question of a name for our
leafy castle could be decided. But finally it was entitled Falconhurst; and we then rapidly named the few
remaining points: Prospect Hill, the eminence we first ascended; Cape Disappointment, from whose rocky
heights we had strained our eyes in vain search for our ship's company; and Jackal River, as a name for the large
stream at our landing place, concluded our geographical nomenclature.

In the afternoon the boys went on with their various employments. Fritz finished his cases, and Jack asked my
assistance in carrying out his plan of making a cuirass for Turk, out of the porcupine skin. After thoroughly
cleansing the inside, we cut and fitted it round the body of the patient dog; then when strings were sewn on, and
it became tolerably dry, he was armed with this ingenious coat of mail, and a most singular figure he cut!

Juno strongly objected to his friendly approaches, and got out of his way so fast as she could; and it was clear
that he would easily put to flight the fiercest animal he might encounter, while protected by armour at once
defensive and offensive. I determined to make also a helmet for Jack out of the remainder of the skin, which to
his infinite delight I speedily did.

Amid these interesting occupations the evening drew on, and after a pleasant walk among the sweet glades near
our abode, we closed our Sabbath day with prayer and a glad hymn of praise, retiring to rest with peaceful

Next morning, I proposed an expedition to Tentholm, saying I wished to make my way thither by a different
route. We left the tree well armed; I and my three elder sons each carrying a gun and game-bag, while little
Franz was equipped with his bow and quiver full of arrows. A most curious party we formed: Fritz adorned with
his belt of margay skin, and Jack, with his extraordinary headdress, looked like a couple of young savages.
Their mother and I walked together; she, of the whole party, being the only one unarmed, carried a jar in which
to get butter from Tentholm; we were preceded by the dogs Turk armed most effectually with his cuirass of
porcupine skin, and Juno keeping at a respectful distance from so formidable a companion.

Master Knips fully intended to mount his charger as usual; but when he saw him arrayed apparently in a new
skin, he approached him carefully, and touching him with one paw, discovered that such a hide would make
anything but an agreeable seat; the grimace he made was most comical, and chattering vociferously he bounded
towards Juno, skipped on her back, seated himself, and soon appeared perfectly reconciled to the change of

The flamingo saw us starting, and, having been much petted during the last day or two, considered himself
entitled to accompany us; for some time he kept beside the children, following first one and then another as they
explored the wood on either side; their irregular course, however, at length disgusted him, and, abandoning
them, he walked sedately by my side.

We strolled on in the cool evening air, following the course of the stream. The boys roamed ahead of me, intent
on exploration.

Presently I heard a joyful shout, and saw Ernest running at full speed towards me, followed by his brothers. In
his hand he held a plant, and, panting for breath, and with sparkling eyes, he held it up to me.

`Potatoes! Potatoes, father,' he gasped out.

`Yes,' said Jack, `acres and acres of potatoes!'

`My dear Ernest,' said I, for there was no mistaking the flower and leaf, and the light clear-green bulbous roots,
`you have indeed made a discovery; with the potato we shall never starve.'

`But come and look at them,' said Jack, `come and feast your eyes on thousands of potatoes.'

We hurried to the spot: there, spread out before us, was a great tract of ground, covered with the precious plant.

`It would have been rather difficult,' remarked Jack, `not to have discovered such a great field.'

`Very likely,' replied Ernest, smiling, `but I doubt if you would have discovered that it was a potato field.'

`Perhaps not,' said Jack, `you are quite welcome, at all events, to the honour of the discovery; I'll have the
honour of being the first to get a supply of them.' So saying, he dug up, with hands and knife, a number of
plants, and filled his game-bag with the roots. The monkey followed his example, and scratching away with his
paws most cleverly, soon had a heap beside him. So delighted were we with the discovery, and so eager were
we to possess a large supply of the roots, that we stopped not digging until every bag, pouch and pocket was

Some wished to return at once to Falconhurst, to cook and taste our new acquisition; but this I overruled, and
we continued our march, heavily laden, but delighted.

`How,' said I, `can we thank the Giver of all these blessings, sufficiently?'

`Oh,' said Franz, `we can say, "We thank thee, O Lord, for all thy goodness and mercy; and bless us for Jesus
Christ's sake. Amen."'
`That would not be sufficient,' said Fritz. `Do you think it would be enough just to say to father and mother:
"Thank you for all you do," and not to show that we were really thankful, by loving them and doing what we
can to please them?'

`You are quite right, Fritz,' said I; `Franz did not say all that was necessary, he should have added, "Give me
grace to do Thy will, and to obey Thee in all things."'

As we thus talked, we reached the head of our streamlet, where it fell from the rocks above in a beautiful,
sparkling, splashing cascade. We crossed and entered the tall grass on the other side.

We forced our way through with difficulty, so thick and tangled were the reeds. Beyond this, the landscape was
most lovely. Rich tropical vegetation flourished on every side: the tall stately palms, surrounded by luxuriant
ferns; brilliant flowers and graceful creepers; the prickly cactus, shooting up amidst them; aloe, jasmine and
sweet-scented vanilla; the Indian pea and, above all, the regal pineapple, loaded the breath of the evening breeze
with their rich perfume. The boys were delighted with the pineapple, and so eagerly did they fall to, that my
wife had to caution them that there were no doctors on our territory, and that if they became ill, they would have
to cure themselves as best they might.

This advice, however, seemed to have small effect on my sons, and showing Knips what they wanted, they sent
him after the ripest and best fruit.

While they were thus employed, I examined the other shrubs and bushes. Among these I presently noticed one
which I knew well from description to be the karatas.

`Come here, boys,' I said, `here is something of far more value than your pineapples. Do you see that plant with
long pointed leaves and beautiful red flower? That is the karatas. The filaments of the leaves make capital
thread, while the leaves themselves, bruised, form an invaluable salve. The pith of this wonderful plant may be
used either for tinder or bait for fish.

`Suppose, Ernest, you had been wrecked here, how would you have made a fire without matches, or flint and

`As the savages do,' replied he, `I would rub two pieces of wood together until they kindled.'

`Try it,' I said, `but, if you please, try it when you have a whole day before you, and no other work to be done,
for I am certain it would be night before you accomplished the feat. But see here,' and I broke a dry twig from
the karatas, and peeling off the bark, laid the pith upon a stone. I struck a couple of pebbles over it, and, they
emitting a spark, the pith caught fire.

The boys were delighted with the experiment. I then drew some of the threads from the leaves, and presented
them to my wife.

`But what,' said Fritz, `is the use of all these other prickly plants, except to annoy one? Here, for instance, is a
disagreeable little tree.'

`That is an Indian fig,' said I. `It grows best on dry, rocky ground; for most of its nourishment is derived from
the air. Its juice is used, I believe, medicinally, while its fruit is pleasant and wholesome.'

Master Jack was off in a moment when he heard of a new delicacy, and attempted to gather some of the fruit,
but in vain; the sharp thorns defied his efforts, and with bleeding hands and rueful countenance, he returned.
I removed the thorns from his hands, and making a sharp wooden skewer, I thrust it into a fig, and quickly
twisted it from its branch and split it open with a knife, still holding it upon the skewer. The rest followed my
example, and we regaled ourselves upon the fruit, which we found excellent.

Ernest carefully examined the fig he was eating. `What', he exclaimed, presently, `are these little red insects?
They cling all over the fruit, and I cannot shake them off. Can they be cochineal?'

He handed me the fig, and I examined it attentively.

`You are quite right, my boy,' I said, `there is no doubt this is the real cochineal. However, though it is worth its
weight in gold to European traders, it is of little use to us, I am afraid, unless any of you care to appear in gay
colours. The cochineal, you know, forms the most lovely scarlet dye.'

`No, thank you,' said Jack, `but we will take a lot of it when we go home again. Now let us find something more
useful to us.' And they thereupon plied me incessantly with questions concerning every plant and shrub we

`Stop, stop,' I said at length. `The most learned naturalist would be much puzzled with many of these trees; and
I, who have never seen any of them before, and know them merely by description, cannot pretend to tell you the
names, or explain to you the use of one quarter of them.'

Discussing, however, the properties of such shrubs as I did know, we at length reached Tentholm. Everything
was safe, and we set to work to collect what we wanted. I opened the butter cask from which my wife filled her
pot. Fritz saw after the ammunition, and Jack and Ernest ran down to the beach to capture the geese and ducks.
This they found no easy matter, for the birds, left so long alone, were shy, and nothing would induce them to
come on shore and be caught. Ernest at length hit upon an ingenious plan.

He took some pieces of cheese, and tied them to long strings. This bait he threw into the water, and the hungry
ducks instantly made a grab at it; then with a little skilful manoeuvring he drew them on shore.

While Jack and he were thus busily employed catching and tying the rebels together by the feet, we procured a
fresh supply of salt, which we packed upon Turk's back, first relieving him of his coat of mail. The birds we
fastened to our game-bags, and carefully closing the door of our tent, started homewards by the sea-shore. After
a cheerful and pleasant walk, we once more reached our woodland abode. I released the birds, and, clipping
their wings to prevent their leaving us, established them on the stream. Then, after a delicious supper of
potatoes, milk and butter, we ascended our tree and turned in.

Having remarked a great deal of driftwood on the sands the preceding evening, it occurred to me that it would
be well to get some of it, and make a kind of sledge, so that the labour of fetching what we wanted from our
stores at Tentholm might not fall so heavily on ourselves.

I awoke early and roused Ernest as my assistant, wishing to encourage him to overcome his natural fault of
indolence. After a little stretching and yawning, he got up cheerfully, pleased with the idea of an expedition
while the others still slept, and we made our way to the beach, taking with us the donkey, who drew a large
broad bough, which I expected to find useful in bringing back our load.

As we went along, I remarked to Ernest that I supposed he was rather sorry for himself, and grudged leaving his
cosy hammock and pleasant dreams at this untimely hour.

`Oh, father, do not laugh at my laziness! Indeed I mean to cure myself of it. I am very glad to go with you. I
intended to shoot some more of the ortolans this morning, but there will be plenty of time afterwards. The boys
will be shooting at them, I daresay, but I don't expect they will have any great luck.'
`Why not, pray?' inquired I.

`I don't believe they will know what shot to use at first, and, besides, they will most likely shoot upwards at the
birds and be sure to miss them, on account of the great height and thickness of the branches and foliage.'

`Well, Ernest, you certainly possess the gifts of prudence and reflection, as well as observation. These are
valuable; but sudden action is so often necessary in life, that I advise you to cultivate the power of instantly
perceiving and deciding what must be done in cases of emergency. Presence of mind is a precious quality,
which, although natural in some characters, may be acquired to a certain degree by all who train themselves to

Once on the seashore, our work was quickly accomplished, for selecting the wood I thought fit for my purpose,
we laid it across the broad leafy branch, and, with some help from us, the donkey dragged a very fair load of it
homewards, with the addition of a small chest which I raised from among the sand which nearly covered it.

We heard the boys popping away at the birds as we drew near. They hastened to meet us, and inquired where
we had been, looking curiously at the chest, which I allowed them to open, while I asked my wife to excuse our
`absence without leave'; and after submitting to her gentle reprimand, I explained my plan for a sledge, which
pleased her greatly, and she already imagined it loaded with her hogshead of butter, and on its way from
Eentholm to Falconhurst.

The chest proved to be merely that of a common sailor, containing his clothes, very much wetted by the sea

The boys exhibited an array of several dozen birds, and related, during breakfast, the various incidents of failure
and success which had attended their guns. Ernest had rightly guessed the mistakes they would make, but
practise was making them perfect, and they seemed disposed to continue their sport, when their mother,
assuring them that she could not use more birds than those already killed, asked if I did not think some means of
snaring them might be contrived, as much powder and shot would be expended if they fired on at this rate.

Entirely agreeing with this view of the subject, I desired the lads to lay aside their guns for the present, and the
younger ones readily applied themselves to making snares of the long threads drawn from the leaves of the
karatas in a simple way I taught them, while Fritz and Ernest gave me substantial assistance in the manufacture
of the new sledge.

We were busily at work, when a tremendous disturbance among our fowls led us to suppose that a fox or wild
cat had got into their midst. The cocks crowed defiantly, the hens fluttered and cackled in a state of the wildest

We hastened towards them, but Ernest remarking Master Knips slipping away, as though conscious of some
misdemeanour, went to watch him, and presently caught him in the act of eating a new-laid egg, which he had
carried off and hidden among the grass and roots. Ernest found several others.

These were very welcome to my wife, for hitherto the hens had not presented us with any eggs. Hereafter she
determined to imprison the monkey every morning until the eggs had been collected.

Soon after this, as Jack was setting the newly made snares among the branches, he discovered that a pair of our
own pigeons were building in the tree. It was very desirable to increase our stock of these pretty birds, and I
cautioned the boys against shooting near our tree while they had nests there, and also with regard to the snares,
which were meant only to entrap the wild-fig-eaters.
Although my sons were interested in setting the snares, they by no means approved of the new order to
economize on ammunition.

No doubt they had been discussing this hardship, for little Franz came to me with a brilliant proposal of his

`Papa,' said he, `why should not we begin to plant some powder and shot immediately? It would be so much
more useful than bare grain for the fowls.'

His brothers burst into a roar of laughter, and I must confess I found it no easy matter to keep my countenance.

`Come, Ernest,' said I, `now we have had our amusement, tell the little fellow what gunpowder really is.'

`It is not seed at all, Franz,' Ernest explained. `Gunpowder is made of charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre, mixed
cleverly together; so you see it cannot be sown like corn, any more than shot can be planted like peas
and beans.'

My carpentering meantime went on apace. In order to shape my sledge with ends properly turned up in front, I
had chosen wood which had been part of the bow of the vessel, and was curved in the necessary way for my
purpose. Two pieces, perfectly similar, formed the sides of my sleigh, or sledge, and I simply united these
strongly by fixing short bars across them. Then, when the ropes of the donkey's harness were attached to the
raised points in front, the equipage was complete and ready for use.

My attention had been for some time wholly engrossed by my work, and I only now observed that the mother
and her little boys had been busily plucking above two dozen of the wild birds, and were preparing to roast
them, spitted in a row on a long, narrow sword blade, belonging to one of our ship's officers.

It seemed somewhat wasteful to cook so many at once, but my wife explained that she was getting them ready
for the butter-cask I was going to fetch for her on the new sledge, as I had advised her to preserve them half-
cooked, and packed in butter.

Amused at her promptitude, I could do nothing less than promise to go for her cask directly after dinner. For her
part, she resolved in our absence to have a grand wash of linen and other clothes, and she advised me to arrange
regular baths for all the boys in future.

Early in the afternoon Ernest and I were ready to be off. Fritz presented us each with a neat case of margay skin
to hang at our girdles.

We harnessed both cow and ass to the sledge and, accompanied by Juno, cheerfully took our departure,
choosing the way by the sands, and reaching Tentholm without accident or adventure.

There, unharnessing the animals, we began at once to load the sledge, not only with the butter-cask, but with a
powder-chest, a barrel of cheese, and a variety of other articles--ball, shot, tools and Turk's armour, which had
been left behind on our last visit.

Our work had so closely engaged our attention, that when we were ready to leave it and go in search of a good
bathing-place, we discovered that our two animals had wandered quite out of sight, having crossed the bridge to
reach the good pasture beyond the river.

I sent Ernest after them, and went alone to the extremity of the bay. It terminated in bold and precipitous cliffs,
which extended into the deep water, and rose abruptly so as to form an inaccessible wall of rock and crag.
Swampy ground, overgrown with large canes, intervened between me and these cliffs. I cut a large bundle of
the reeds, and returned to Ernest.

It was some time before I found him, comfortably extended full length on the ground near the tent, and sleeping
as sound as a top, while the cow and the ass, grazing at will, were again making for the bridge.

`Get up, Ernest, you lazy fellow!' exclaimed I, much annoyed, `Why don't you mind your business? Look at the
animals! They will be over the river again!'

`No fear of that, father,' returned he, with the utmost composure. `I have taken a couple of boards off the bridge.
They won't pass the gap.'

I could not help laughing at the ingenious device by which the boy had spared himself all trouble; at the same
time I observed that it is wrong to waste the precious moments in sleep when duty has to be performed. I then
bid him go and collect some salt, which was wanted at home, while I went to bathe.

On coming back, much refreshed, I again missed Ernest, and began to wonder whether he was still gathering
salt, or whether he had lain down somewhere to finish his nap, when I heard him loudly calling: `Father,
father! I've caught a fish! An immense fellow he is. I can scarcely hold him, he drags the line so!'

Hastening towards the spot, I saw the boy lying in the grass, on a point of land close to the mouth of the stream,
and with all his might keeping hold of a rod. The line was strained to the utmost by the frantic efforts of a very
large fish, which was attempting to free itself from the hook.

I quickly took the rod from him, and giving the fish more line, led him by degrees into shallow water. Ernest ran
in with his hatchet and killed him. It proved to be a salmon of full fifteen pounds weight, and
I was delighted to think of taking such a valuable prize to them.

`This is capital, Ernest!' cried I. `You have cleared yourself for once of the charge of laziness! Let us now carry
this splendid salmon to the sledge. I will clean and pack it for the journey, that it may arrive in
good condition, while you go and take a bath in the sea.'

All this being accomplished, we harnessed our beasts to the well-laden vehicle, and replacing the boards on the
bridge, commenced the journey home.

We kept inland this time, and were skirting the borders of a grassy thicket, when Juno suddenly left us, and
plunging into the bushes, with fierce barking hunted out, right in front of us, the most singular-looking creature
I ever beheld. It was taking wonderful flying leaps, apparently in a sitting posture, and got over the ground at an
astonishing rate. I attempted to shoot it as it passed, but missed.

Ernest, who was behind me, observed its movements very coolly, and seeing that the dog was puzzled, and that
the animal, having paused, was crouching among the grass, went cautiously nearer, fired at the spot he had
marked, and shot it dead.

The extraordinary appearance of this creature surprised us very much. It was as large as a sheep, its head was
shaped like that of a mouse; its skin also was of a mouse-colour; it had long ears like a hare, and a tail like a
tiger's. The fore-paws resembled those of a squirrel, but they seemed only half-grown while the hind legs were
enormous, and so long, that when upright on them the animal would look as if mounted on stilts.

For some time we stood silently wondering at the remarkable creature before us. I could not recollect to have
seen or heard of any such. `Well, father,' said Ernest at last, `I should say this was about the queerest beast to be
met with anywhere. I am glad I knocked it over. How they will all stare when I carry it home!'
`You have had a lucky day altogether, certainly,' said I, `but I cannot think what this animal can be. Examine its
teeth, and let us see to what class of mammalia it belongs. We may be led to guess at its name in that way.'

`I see four sharp incisor teeth, father--two upper, and two under, as a squirrel has.'

`Ah! Then he is a rodent. What rodents can you remember, Ernest?'

`I do not know them all, but there are the mouse, the marmot, the squirrel, the hare, the beaver, the jerboa--'

`The jerboa!' I exclaimed, `The jerboa! Now we shall have it. This is really very like a jerboa, only far larger. It
must be a kangaroo, one of the class of animals which has a pouch or purse beneath the body, in which its
young can take refuge. They were discovered in New Holland, by the great Captain Cook, and I congratulate
you on being the first to obtain a specimen in New Switzerland!' I added, laughing, as I extemporised the name.

The kangaroo was added to the already heavy load on our sledge, and we proceeded slowly, arriving late at
Falconhurst, but meeting with the usual bright welcome. Very eager and inquisitive were the glances turned
towards the sledge, for the load piled on it surpassed all expectation: we on our part staring in equal surprise at
the extraordinary rig of the young folks who came to meet us.

One wore a long night-shirt, which, with a belt, was a convenient length in front, but trailed behind in orthodox
ghost fashion. Another had on a very wide pair of trousers, braced up so short that each little leg looked like the
clapper in a bell. The third, buttoned up in a pea-jacket which came down to his ankles, looked for all the world
like a walking portmanteau.

Amid much joking and laughter, my wife explained that she had been washing all day, and while their clothes
were drying, the boys amused themselves by dressing up in things they found while rummaging the sailor's
chest, and had kept them on, that Ernest and I might see the masquerade. It certainly amused us, but made me
regret that so little belonging to ourselves had been saved from the wreck, in consequence of which the children
had scarcely a change of linen.

Turning now to our new acquisitions, we excited great interest by exhibiting each in turn; the large salmon, but
more especially the kangaroo, surprised and delighted everyone.

Fritz alone wore a look expressive of dissatisfaction, and I saw that he was envious of his younger brother's
success. Vexed that so noble a prize had fallen to Ernest's gun, instead of his own, he treated it rather
slightingly; but I could see that he was struggling against his jealous feelings, and he, after a while, succeeded in
recovering his good humour, and joined pleasantly in the conversation.

`What a famous day's sport you have had altogether!' said he, coming close up to me. `It will be my turn to go
out with you next, will it not, father? Just about here there is nothing to shoot, and I have found it very dull.'

`Still you have been doing your duty, my dear boy; you were entrusted with the care of the family, and a youth
of manly character will not depend for happiness on mere excitement.'

As the shades of night approached, we made haste to conclude the day's work, by preparing the kangaroo, part
for immediate use, and part for salting. The animals were fed, and a plentiful allowance of salt made to them.
Our own supper of broiled salmon and potatoes was dispatched with great appetite, and we retired, with
thankful hearts, to sound and well-earned repose.
                                                 Chapter 5

Next morning, while the breakfast was getting ready, I attended to the beautiful skin of the kangaroo, which I
was anxious to preserve entire; and afterwards, when Fritz had prepared everything in readiness for our
trip to the wreck, I called Ernest and Jack in order to give them some parting injunctions.

They, however, had disappeared directly after breakfast, and their mother could only guess that, as we required
potatoes, they might have gone to fetch a supply. I desired her to reprove them, on their return, for starting away
without leave; but, as it appeared they had taken Turk, I satisfied myself that no harm was likely to befall them,
although it was not without reluctance that I left my dear wife alone with little Franz, cheering her with hopes of
our speedy return with new treasures from the wreck.

Advancing steadily on our way, we crossed the bridge at Jackal River, when suddenly, to our no small
astonishment, Jack and Ernest burst out of a hiding-place where they had lain in wait for us, and were
enchanted with the startling effect of their unexpected appearance upon their unsuspecting father and brother.

It was evident that they fully believed they might now go with us to the wreck.

To this notion I at once put a decided stop, although I could not find it in my heart to scold the two merry
rogues for their thoughtless frolic, more especially as I particularly wished to send back a message to my wife. I
told them they must hurry home, so as not to leave their mother in suspense, although, as they were already so
far, they might collect some salt.

And I instructed them to explain that, as my work on board would take up a long time, she must try to bear with
our absence for a night. This I had meant to say when we parted, but my courage had failed, knowing how much
she would object to such a plan, and I had resolved to return in the evening.

On consideration, however, of the importance of constructing a raft, which was my intention in going, and
finishing it without a second trip, I determined to remain on board for the night, as the boys had,
unintentionally, given me the chance of sending a message to that effect.

`Goodbye boys, take care of yourselves! We're off,' shouted Fritz, as I joined him in the tub-boat, and we
shoved off.

The current carried us briskly out of the bay; we were very soon moored safely alongside the wreck, and
scrambling up her shattered sides, stood on what remained of the deck, and began at once to lay our plans. I
wanted to make a raft fit to carry on shore a great variety of articles far too large and heavy for our present boat.

A number of empty water-casks seemed just what was required for a foundation: we closed them tightly, pushed
them overboard, and arranging twelve of them side by side in rows of three, we firmly secured them together by
means of spars, and then proceeded to lay a good substantial floor of planks, which was defended by a low
bulwark. In this way we soon had a first-rate raft, exactly suited to our purpose.

It would have been impossible to return to land that same evening, for we were thoroughly fatigued by our
labours, and had eaten only the light refreshment we had brought in our wallets, scarcely desisting a moment
from our work.

Rejoicing that we were not expected home, we now made an excellent supper from the ship's provisions, and
then rested for the night on spring mattresses, a perfect luxury to us, after our hard and narrow hammocks.
Next morning we actively set about loading the raft and boat: first carrying off the entire contents of our own
cabins; and, passing on to the captain's room, we removed the furniture, as well as the doors and window-
frames, with their bolts, bars and locks. We next took the officers' chests, and those belonging to the carpenter
and gunsmith; the contents of these latter we had to remove in portions, as their weight was far beyond our

One large chest was filled with an assortment of fancy goods, and reminded us of a jeweller's shop, so glittering
was the display of gold and silver watches, snuff-boxes, buckles, studs, chains, rings and all manner of trinkets;
these, and a box of money, drew our attention for a time; but more useful to us at present was a case of common
knives and forks, which I was glad to find, as more suited to us than the smart silver ones we had previously
taken on shore.

To my delight we found, most carefully packed, a number of young fruit trees; and we read on the tickets
attached to them the names, so pleasant to European ears, of the apple, pear, chestnut, orange, almond, peach,
apricot, plum, cherry and vine.

The cargo, which had been destined for the supply of a distant colony, proved, in fact, a rich and almost
inexhaustible treasure to us. Ironmongery, plumber's tools, lead, paint, grind-stones, cart wheels, and all that
was necessary for the work of a smith's forge, spades and plough-shares, sacks of maize, peas, oats, and wheat,
a hand-mill, and also the parts of a saw-mill so carefully numbered that, were we strong enough, it would be
easy to put it up, had been stowed away.

So bewildered were we by the wealth around us that for some time we were at a loss as to what to remove to the
raft. It would be impossible to take everything; yet the first storm would complete the destruction of the ship,
and we should lose all we left behind.

Selecting a number of the most useful articles, however, including of course the grain and the fruit trees, we
gradually loaded our raft.

Fishing lines, reels, cordage, and a couple of harpoons were put on board, as well as a mariner's compass. Fritz,
recollecting our encounter with the shark, placed the harpoons in readiness; and amused me by seeming to
picture himself a whaler, flourishing his harpoon in most approved fashion. Early in the afternoon, both our
craft were heavily laden, and we were ready to make for the shore. The voyage was begun with considerable
anxiety, as, with the raft in tow, there was some danger of an accident.

But the sea being calm and the wind favourable, we found we could spread the sail, and our progress was very
satisfactory. Presently, Fritz asked me for the telescope, as he had observed something curious floating at a
distance. Then handing it back, he begged me to examine the object; which I soon discovered to be a turtle
asleep on the water, and of course unconscious of our approach.

`Do, father, steer towards it!' exclaimed he. I accordingly did so, that he might have a nearer look at the
creature. Little did I suspect what was to follow. The lad's back was turned to me, and the broad sail was
between us, so that I could not perceive his actions; when, all of a sudden, I experienced a shock, and the thrill
as of line running through a reel. Before I had time to call out, a second shock, and the sensation of the boat
being rapidly drawn through the water, alarmed me.

`Fritz, what are you about?' cried I. `You are sending us to the bottom.'

`I have him, hurrah! I have him safe!' shouted he, in eager excitement. To my amazement, I perceived that he
really had struck the tortoise with a harpoon; a rope was attached to it, and the creature was running away with
Lowering the sail and seizing my hatchet, I hastened forward, in order to cut the line, and cast adrift at once
turtle and harpoon.

`Father! Do wait!' pleaded the boy. `There is no danger just yet! I promise to cut the line myself the instant it is
necessary! Let us catch this turtle if we possibly can.'

`My dear boy, the turtle will be a very dear bargain, if he upsets all our goods into the sea, even if he does not
drown us too. For heaven's sake, be careful! I will wait a few minutes, but the instant there is danger, cut the

As the turtle began to make for the open sea, I hoisted the sail again; and, finding the opposition too much for it,
the creature again directed its course landward, drawing us rapidly after it. The part of the shore for which the
turtle was making was considerably to the left of our usual landing-place. The beach there shelved very
gradually, and at some distance from land we grounded with a sharp shock, but fortunately without a capsize.

The turtle was evidently greatly exhausted, and no wonder, since it had been acting the part of a steam tug, and
had been dragging, at full speed, a couple of heavily laden vessels. Its intention was to escape to land; but I
leaped into the water, and wading up to it, dispatched it with my axe. Such was its tenacity of life, however, that
it did not cease its struggles, until I had actually severed its head from its body.

As we were by no means far from Falconhurst, Fritz gave notice of our approach by firing off his gun, as well
as shouting loudly in his glee; and, while we were yet engaged in securing our boats and getting the turtle on
shore, the whole family appeared in the distance hastening eagerly towards us; and our new prize, together with
the well-laden boat and raft, excited the liveliest interest; my wife's chief pleasure, however, consisted in seeing
us safely back, as our night's absence had disturbed her, and she was horrified by the description of our
angerous run in the wake of the fugitive turtle.

Being anxious to remove some of our goods before night, the boys ran off to fetch the sledge; while I, having no
anchor, contrived to moor the boats by means of some of the heavy blocks of iron we had brought. It required
our united strength to get the turtle hoisted on to the sledge, its weight being prodigious; we found it, indeed,
with the addition of the sapling fruit-trees, quite a sufficient load.

We then made the best of our way home, chatting merrily about our various adventures. The first thing to be
done on arriving was to obtain some of the turtle's flesh to cook for supper. To my wife this appeared
necessarily a work of time, as well as of difficulty; but I turned the beast on its back, and soon detached a
portion of the meat from the breast with a hatchet, by breaking the lower shell; and I then directed that it should
be cooked, with a little salt, shell and all.

`But let me first cut away this disgusting green fat,' said my wife, with a little shudder. `See how it sticks all
over the meat. No one could eat anything so nasty.'

`Leave the fat, whatever you do!' exclaimed I. `Why, my dear, that is the very best part, and the delight of the
epicures. If there be really too much, cut some off-it can be used as lard, and let the dogs make a supper of the

`And the handsome shell!' cried Fritz. `I should like to make a water-trough of that, to stand near the brook, and
be kept always full of clear water. How useful it would be!'

`That is a capital idea,' I replied, `and we may manage it easily, if we can find clay so as to make a firm
foundation on which to place it.'
`Oh, as to clay,' said Jack, `I have a grand lump of clay there under that root.'

`Well done, my lad! When did you find it?'

`He found a bed of clay near the river this morning,' said his mother, `and came home in such a mess, I had
regularly to scrape his clothes and wash him thoroughly!'

`Well, mother, I can only tell you I should never in all my days have found the clay, if I had not slipped and
fallen amongst it.'

`That I can well believe,' returned his mother, `only, to hear your talk this morning, one would have thought
your discovery of clay the result of very arduous search indeed.'

`When you have ended the question of the clay and the turtle-shell,' said Ernest, `I should like to show you
some roots I found today; they are getting rather dry now. They look something like radishes, although
the plant itself was almost a bush; but I have not ventured to taste them, although our old sow was devouring
them at a great rate.'

`In that you did wisely, my boy. Swine eat many things injurious to men. Let me see your roots. How did you
discover them?'

`I was rambling in the wood this morning, and came upon the sow, very busy grubbing under a small bush, and
eating something ravenously; so I drove her away, and found a number of these roots, which I brought for
you to see.'

`Indeed, Ernest,' I exclaimed, after taking the roots in my hand and considering them attentively, `I am inclined
to believe that you have really made a brilliant discovery! If this proves to be, as I expect, the manioc root, we
might lose every other eatable we possess, and yet not starve. In the West Indies, cakes called cassava bread are
made from it; and, already having potatoes, we shall be very independent if we can succeed in preparing flour
from these roots. Great care must be taken in the manufacture to express the juice, otherwise the flour may
be injurious and even poisonous.

`If we can collect a sufficient quantity, we will attempt bread-making. I think I know how to set about it.'

Finding there was still time to make another trip with the sledge, I went off with the elder boys, leaving Franz
with his mother; and we all looked forward with satisfaction to the prospect of the princely supper they were to
have ready for us, for our day's work had been none of the lightest.

`I have been thinking about my turtle, father,' said Fritz, as we went along, `is not the shell very valuable?
Surely beautiful combs, boxes, and a number of ornamental things are made of tortoise-shell, and if so, it seems
a pity to use it for a water-trough.'

`Your turtle, Fritz, is only fit for eating, its shell is worthless as regards ornament; whereas the species whose
shell is prized so much is unfit for food. Tortoiseshell is subjected to the action of heat, the outer layer peels off,
leaving a beautifully marked, semi-transparent surface, which is susceptible of a very high polish.'

The sledge quickly received its second load from the raft. Chests, four cart-wheels and the hand-mill were
placed on it, with all manner of smaller articles, and we lost no time in returning to Falconhurst.

My wife welcomed us joyfully, for she said we had been regularly overworked during the last two days.
`However, now you are come home to rest,' said she, `and you little think what refreshment awaits you here
in the shade. Come and see my cellar!' and she smilingly exhibited a small cask, half sunk in the ground, and
well sheltered with leaves and branches.

`Ah! You wonder where this came from,' continued my wife; `well, I found it myself on the sands, today, while
you were all absent; and fancying it was wine of some sort, I got it up here on purpose to be ready for you. The
boys are most anxious to know what sort of wine it will prove to be.'

As the simplest method of ascertaining this, I inserted a straw at the vent-hole, and presently announced that in
all my life I had never enjoyed a more delicious draught of canary sack. My wife was immensely pleased to find
that her exertions in my behalf had not been thrown away, and the boys pressed round me, armed with straws,
and begging for a taste.

After so strongly expressing my own enjoyment of the wine, it seemed unreasonable to deny them this, and I let
them come in turns, but was speedily obliged to call a halt; for the rogues got so eager and excited that I had to
reprove them for their greediness, and warn them of the risk they ran of being intoxicated.

Supper was more to the purpose; and, as the turtle proved delicious, it was heartily enjoyed, and gave us
strength to haul the mattresses we had brought from the ship, up into our sleeping-rooms, so that very refreshing
slumbers closed the day.

Early next morning, I got up without rousing any of the others, intending to pay a visit to the beach; for I had
my doubts about the safety of my vessels on the open shore. The dogs were delighted when I descended the
ladder, and bounded to meet me; the cocks crowed and flapped their wings; two pretty kids gambolled around;
all was life and energy: the ass alone seemed disinclined to begin the day, and, as I especially required his
services, this was unfortunate.

I put his morning dreams to flight, however, and harnessed him to the sledge; the cow, as she had not been
milked, enjoyed the privilege of further repose, and with the rest of the family, I left her dozing.

My fears as to the safety of the boats were soon dispelled, for they were all right; and, being in haste to return,
the load I collected from their freight was but a light one, and the donkey willingly trotted home with it, he, as
well as I, being uncommonly ready for breakfast.

Approaching the tree, not a sound was to be heard, not a soul was to be seen, although it was broad day; and
great was my good wife's surprise, when, roused by the clatter and hullabaloo I made, she started up, and
became aware of the late hour!

`What can have made us oversleep ourselves like this?' she exclaimed. `It must be the fault of those mattresses,
they are delightful, but really too lulling; see the children are sound asleep still.'

With much stretching and many yawns, the boys at last came tumbling down from the tree, rubbing their eyes
and seeming but half awake; Ernest last, as usual.

`Come, my boys,' said I, `this will never do! Your beds were too luxurious last night, I see.'

In my own opinion, however, I felt there was something else to blame besides the comfortable mattresses, and I
made a mental resolve that the captain's fine canary should be dealt with very sparingly in future. `So now for
prayers and breakfast,' I continued, `and then off to work; I must have our cargo landed in time to get the boats
off with the next tide.'
By dint of downright hard work, we accomplished this, and I got on board with Fritz as soon as they were
afloat; the rest turned homewards, but Jack lingered behind with such imploring looks, that I could not resist
taking him with me.

My intention had been simply to take the vessels round to the harbour in Safety Bay, but the calm sea and fine
weather tempted me to make another trip to the wreck. It took up more time than I expected, so that, when on
board, we could only make a further examination of the cargo, collect a few portable articles and then avail
ourselves of the sea-breeze which would fail us later in the evening.

To Jack the pleasure of hunting about in the hold, was novel and charming, and very soon a tremendous rattling
and clattering heralded his approach with a wheelbarrow, in the highest spirits at his good fortune in having
found such a capital thing in which to bring home potatoes.

He was followed by Fritz, whose news was still more important. He had found, carefully packed and enclosed
within partitions, what appeared to be the separate parts of a pinnace, with rigging and fittings complete, even to
a couple of small brass guns. This was a great discovery, and I hastened to see if the lad was right. Indeed he
was, but my pleasure was qualified by a sense of the arduous task it would be to put such a craft together so as
to be fit for sea.

For the present, we had barely time to get something to eat and hurry into the boat, where were collected our
new acquisitions, namely, a copper boiler, iron plates, tobacco-graters, two grindstones, a small barrel of
powder, and another of flints, two wheelbarrows besides Jack's, which he kept under his own especial care.

As we drew near the shore, we were surprised to see a number of little figures ranged in a row along the water's
edge, and apparently gazing fixedly at us. They seemed to wear dark coats and white waistcoats, and stood quite
still with their arms dropping by their sides, only every now and then one would extend them gently, as though
longing to embrace us.

`Ah! Here at last come the pigmy inhabitants of the country to welcome us!' cried I, laughing.

`Oh, father!' exclaimed Jack, `I hope they are Lilliputians! I once read in a book about them, so there must be
such people you know, only these look rather too large.'

`You must be content to give up the Lilliputians and accept penguins, my dear Jack,' said I. `We have not before
seen them in such numbers, but Ernest knocked one down, if you remember, soon after we landed. They are
excellent swimmers, but helpless on land, as they can neither fly nor run.'

We were gradually approaching the land as I spoke, and no sooner was the water shallow, than out sprang Jack
from his tub, and wading ashore, took the unsuspecting birds by surprise, and with his stick laid half a dozen,
right and left, either stunned or dead at his feet. The rest escaped into the water, dived, and disappeared.

As these penguins are disagreeable food, on account of their strong oily taste, I was sorry Jack had attacked
them; but going to examine them when we landed, some of the fallen arose from their swoon, and began
solemnly to waddle away, upon which we caught them, and tying their feet together with long grass, laid them
on the sand to wait until we were ready to start.

The three wheelbarrows then each received a load, the live penguins seated gravely were trundled along by
Jack, and away we went at a great rate.

The unusual noise of our approach set the dogs barking furiously, but discovering us, they rushed forward with
such forcible demonstrations of delight, that poor little Jack, who, as it was, could scarcely manage his barrow,
was fairly upset, penguins and all. This was too much for his patience, and it was absurd to see how he started
up and cuffed them soundly for their boisterous behaviour.

This scene, and the examination of our burdens, caused great merriment: the tobacco-grater and iron plates
evidently puzzling everybody.

I sent the boys to catch some of our geese and ducks, and bid them fasten a penguin to each by the leg, thinking
that it was worth while to try to tame them.

My wife had exerted herself in our absence to provide a good store of potatoes, and also of manioc root. I
admired her industry, and little Franz said, `Ah, father! I wonder what you will say when mother and I give you
some Indian corn, and melons, and pumpkins and cucumbers!'

`Now, you little chatterbox!' cried she. `You have let out my secret! I was to have the pleasure of surprising
your father when my plants were growing up.'

`Ah, the poor disappointed little mother!' said I. `Never mind! I am charmed to hear about it. Only do tell me,
where did those seeds come from?'

`Out of my magic bag, of course!' replied she. `And each time I have gone for potatoes, I have sown seeds in the
ground which was dug up to get them; and I have planted potatoes also.'

`Well done, you wise little woman!' I exclaimed, `Why, you are a model of prudence and industry!'

`But,' continued she, `I do not half like the appearance of those tobacco-graters you have brought. Is it possible
you are going to make snuff? Do, pray, let us make sure of abundance of food for our mouths, before we think
of our noses!'

`Make your mind easy, my wife. I have not the remotest intention of introducing the dirty, ridiculous habit of
snuffing into your family! Please to treat my graters with respect, however, because they are to be the means of
providing you with the first fresh bread you have seen this many a long day.'

`What possible connection can there be between bread and tobacco-graters? I cannot imagine what you mean,
and to talk of bread where there are no ovens is only tantalizing.'

`Ah, you must not expect real loaves,' said I. `But on these flat iron plates I can bake flat cakes or scones, which
will be excellent bread; I mean to try at once what I can do with Ernest's roots. And first of all, I want you to
make me a nice strong canvas bag.'

This my wife willingly undertook to do, but she evidently had not much faith in my powers as a baker, and I
saw her set on a good potful of potatoes before beginning to work, as though to make sure of a meal without
depending on my bread.

Spreading a large sailcloth on the ground, I summoned my boys and set to work. Each took a grater and a
supply of well-washed manioc root, and when all were seated round the cloth--`Once, twice, thrice! Off!'
cried I, beginning to rub a root as hard as I could against the rough surface of my grater. My example was
instantly followed by the whole party, amid bursts of merriment, as each remarked the funny attitude and odd
gestures of his neighbours while vehemently rubbing, rasping, grating and grinding down the roots allotted to
him. No one was tempted by the look of the flour to stop and taste it, for in truth it looked much like wet
`Cassava bread is highly esteemed in many parts of the New World, and I have even heard that some Europeans
there prefer it to the wheaten bread of their own country. There are various species of manioc. One sort grows
quickly, and its roots ripen in a very short time. Another kind is of somewhat slower growth. The roots of the
third kind do not come to maturity for two years. The two first are poisonous, if eaten raw, yet they are
preferred to the last, which is harmless, because they are so much more fruitful, and the flour produced is
excellent, if the scrapings are carefully pressed.'

`What is the good of pressing them, father?' inquired Ernest.

`It is in order to express the sap, which contains the poison. The dry pith is wholesome and nourishing. Still, I
do not mean to taste my cakes, until I have tried their effect on our fowls and the ape.'

By this time our supply of roots being reduced to damp powder, the canvas bag was filled with it, and tying it
tightly up, I attempted to squeeze it, but soon found that mechanical aid was necessary in order to express the

My arrangements for this purpose were as follows. A strong straight beam was made flat on one side, smooth
planks were laid across two of the lower roots of our tree; on these we placed the sack, above the sack another
plank, and over that the long beam; one end was passed under a root near the sack, the other projected far
forward. And to that we attached all the heaviest weights we could think of, such as an anvil, iron bars and
masses of lead. The consequent pressure on the bag was enormous, and the sap flowed from it to the ground.

`Will this stuff keep any time?' inquired my wife, who came to see how we were getting on. `Or must all this
great bagful be used at once? In that case we shall have to spend the whole of tomorrow in baking cakes.'

`Not at all,' I replied, `once dry, the flour in barrels will keep fresh a long time. We shall use a great deal of this,
however, as you shall see.'

`Do you think we might begin now, father?' said Fritz.

`There does not seem the least moisture remaining.'

`Certainly,' said I. `But I shall only make one cake today for an experiment; we must see how it agrees with
Master Knips and the hens before we set up a bakehouse in regular style.'

I took out a couple of handfuls of flour for this purpose, and with a stick loosened and stirred the remainder,
which I intended should again be pressed. While an iron plate placed over a good fire was getting hot, I mixed
the meal with water and a little salt, kneaded it well, and forming a thick cake, laid it on the hot plate when, one
side presently becoming a nice yellow brown colour, it was turned and was quickly baked.

It smelt so delicious, that the boys quite envied the two hens and the monkey, who were selected as the subjects
of this interesting experiment, and they silently watched them gobbling up the bits of cake I gave them, until
Fritz turned to me, saying, `Suppose the cake is poisonous, what effect will it have on the creatures? Will they
be stupefied, or will they suffer pain?'

`That depends upon the nature of the poison. Some cause violent pain, as colchicum, hellebore, and aconite.
Others produce stupefaction and paralysis, as opium, hemlock, and prussic acid; while others again, as
strychnine, are followed by violent convulsions, or, as belladonna, by delirium.

`The effects of course vary according to the quantity taken, and such remedies should be applied as will best
counteract the effect of each poison: emetics in any case, to remove as much as possible of the noxious
substance, combined with oils and mucilaginous drinks to soothe and protect the stomach in the case of irritants;
stimulants, such as spirits, ammonia, or strong coffee to rouse from the stupor of the narcotics; and sedative
drugs, which are perhaps in themselves poisons, to counteract the over stimulation of the nerves caused by the
convulsant poisons.

`But now let us think no more of poisons; here is supper ready and we need not be afraid to eat roast penguin
and potatoes.'

No sooner said than done; we left the fowls picking up the least crumb they could find of the questionable food,
and assembled to enjoy our evening meal of roast penguin. The potatoes were as usual excellent, the penguin
really not so bad as I expected, although fishy in taste and very tough.

Next morning every one expressed the tenderest concern as to the health of Knips and the hens; and lively
pleasure was in every countenance when Jack, who ran first to make the visit of inquiry, brought news of their
perfect good health and spirits.

No time was now to be lost, and bread-baking commenced in earnest. A large fire was kindled, the plates
heated, the meal made into cakes, each of the boys busily preparing his own, and watching the baking most
eagerly. Mistakes occurred, of course, some of the bread was burnt, some not done enough; but a pile of nice
tempting cakes was at length ready, and with plenty of good milk we breakfasted right royally, and in high
spirits at our success.

Soon after, whilst feeding the poultry with the fragments of the repast, I observed that the captive penguins were
quite at ease among them and as tame as the geese and ducks; their bonds were therefore loosed, and they were
left as free as the other fowls.
                                                Chapter 6

Having now discovered how to provide bread for my family, my thoughts began to revert to the wreck and all
the valuables yet contained within it. Above all, I was bent on acquiring possession of the beautiful pinnace, and
aware that our united efforts would be required to do the necessary work, I began to coax and persuade my wife
to let me go in force with all the boys except Franz.

She very unwillingly gave her consent at last, but not until I had faithfully promised never to pass a night on
board. I did so with reluctance, and we parted, neither feeling quite satisfied with the arrangement.

The boys were delighted to go in so large a party, and merrily carried provision-bags filled with cassava-bread
and potatoes.

Reaching Safety Bay without adventure, we first paid a visit to the geese and ducks which inhabited the marsh
there, and having fed them and seen they were thriving well, we buckled on each his cork-belt, stepped into the
tub-boat, and, with the raft in tow, steered straight for the wreck.

When we got on board, I desired the boys to collect whatever came first to hand, and load the raft to be ready
for our return at night, and then we made a minute inspection of the pinnace.

I came to the conclusion that difficulties, well-nigh insuperable, lay between me and the safe possession of the
beautiful little vessel. She lay in a most un-get-at-able position at the further end of the hold, stowed in so
confined and narrow a space, that it was impossible to think of fitting the parts together there. At the same time
these parts were so heavy, that removing them to a convenient place piece by piece was equally out of the

I sent the boys away to amuse themselves by rummaging out anything they liked to carry away, and sat down
quietly to consider the matter.

As my eyes became used to the dim light which entered the compartment through a chink or crevice here and
there, I perceived how carefully every part of the pinnace was arranged and marked with numbers, so that if
only I could bestow sufficient time on the work, and contrive space in which to execute it, I might reasonably
hope for success.

`Room! Room to work in, boys! That's what we need in the first place!' I cried, as my sons came to see what
plan I had devised, for so great was their reliance on me, that they never doubted the pinnace was to be ours.

`Fetch axes, and let us break down the compartment and clear space all round.'

To work we all went, yet evening drew near, and but little impression was made on the mass of woodwork
around us. We had to acknowledge that an immense amount of labour and perseverance would be required
before we could call ourselves the owners of the useful and elegant little craft, which lay within this vast hulk
like a fossil shell embedded in a rock.

Preparations for returning to shore were hastily made, and we landed without much relish for the long walk to
Falconhurst, when, to our great surprise and pleasure, we found my wife and little Franz at Tentholm awaiting
us. She had resolved to take up her quarters there during the time we should be engaged on the wreck. `In that
way you will live nearer your work, and I shall not quite lose sight of you!' said she, with a pleasant smile.
`You are a good, sensible, kind wife,' I exclaimed, delighted with her plan, `and we shall work with the greater
diligence, that you may return as soon as possible to your dear Falconhurst.'

`Come and see what we have brought you, mother!' cried Fritz. `A good addition to your stores, is it not?' and
he and his brothers exhibited two small casks of butter, three of flour, corn, rice, and many other articles
welcome to our careful housewife.

Our days were now spent in hard work on board, first cutting and clearing an open space round the pinnace, and
then putting the parts together. We started early and returned at night, bringing each time a valuable freight
from the old vessel. At length, with incredible labour, all was completed. The pinnace stood actually ready to be
launched, but imprisoned within massive wooden walls which defied our strength.

It seemed exactly as though the graceful vessel had awakened from sleep, and was longing to spring into the
free blue sea, and spread her wings to the breeze. I could not bear to think that our success so far should be
followed by failure and disappointment. Yet no possible means of setting her free could I conceive, and I was
almost in despair, when an idea occurred to me which, if I could carry it out, would effect her release without
further labour or delay.

Without explaining my purpose, I got a large cast-iron mortar, filled it with gunpowder, secured a block of oak
to the top, through which I pierced a hole for the insertion of the match, and this great petard I so placed, that
when it exploded, it should blow out the side of the vessel next which the pinnace lay.

Then securing it with chains, that the recoil might do no damage, I told the boys I was going ashore earlier than
usual, and calmly desired them to get into the boat. Then lighting a match I had prepared, and which would burn
some time before reaching the powder, I hastened after them with a pounding heart, and we made for the land.

We brought the raft close in shore and began to unload it; the other boat I did not haul up, but kept her ready to
put off at a moment's notice; my anxiety was unobserved by anyone, as I listened with strained nerves for the
expected sound. It came!--a flash! a mighty roar--a grand burst of smoke!

My wife and children, terror-stricken, turned their eyes towards the sea, whence the startling noise came, and
then in fear and wonder, looked to me for some explanation. `Perhaps,' said my wife, as I did not speak,
`perhaps you have left a light burning near some of the gunpowder, and an explosion has taken place.'

`Not at all unlikely,' replied I quietly, `we had a fire below when we were caulking the seams of the pinnace. I
shall go off at once and see what has happened. Will anyone come?'

The boys needed no second invitation, but sprang into the boat, while I lingered to reassure my wife by
whispering a few words of explanation, and then joining them, we pulled for the wreck at a more rapid rate
than we ever had done before.

No alteration had taken place in the side at which we usually boarded her, and we pulled round to the further
side, where a marvellous sight awaited us. A huge rent appeared, the decks and bulwarks were torn open, the
water was covered with floating wreckage--all seemed in ruins; and the compartment where the pinnace rested
was fully revealed to view.

There sat the little beauty, to all appearance uninjured; and the boys, whose attention was taken up with the
melancholy scene of ruin and confusion around them, were astonished to hear me shout, in enthusiastic delight,
`Hurrah! She is ours! The lovely pinnace is won! We shall be able to launch her easily after all. Come, boys, let
us see if she has suffered from the explosion, which has set her free.'
The boys gazed at me for a moment, and then guessing my secret, `You planned it yourself, you clever, cunning
father! Oh, that machine we helped to make, was on purpose to blow it up!' cried they; and eagerly they
followed me into the shattered opening, where, to my intense satisfaction, I found everything as I could wish
and the captive in no way a sufferer from the violent measures I had adopted for her deliverance.

The boys were deeply interested in examining the effects of the explosion, and in the explanation I gave them,
of the principle, and proper way to manage a petard.

It was evident that the launch could now be effected without much trouble; I had been careful to place rollers
beneath the keel, so that by means of levers and pulleys we might, with our united strength, move her forward
towards the water.

A rope was attached by which to regulate the speed of the descent, and then, all hands putting their shoulders to
the work, the pinnace began to slide from the stocks, and finally slipped gently and steadily into the water,
where she floated as if conscious it was her native element; while we, wild with excitement, cheered and waved

We then only remained long enough to secure our prize carefully at the most sheltered point, and went back to
Tentholm, where we accounted for the explosion; saying that having blown away one side of the ship, we
should be able to obtain the rest of its contents with a very few more days' work.

These days were devoted to completing the rigging, the mounting of her two little brass guns, and all necessary
arrangements about the pinnace. It was wonderful what martial ardour was awakened by the possession of a
vessel armed with two real guns. The boys chattered incessantly about savages, fleets of canoes, attack, defence
and final annihilation of the invaders.

I assured them that, brilliant as their victories would doubtless be, we should have good cause to thank God if
their fighting powers and new-born valour were never put to the test.

The pinnace was fully equipped and ready to sail, while yet no idea of the surprise we were preparing for her
had dawned upon my wife, and I permitted the boys, who had kept the secret so well, to fire a salute when we
entered the bay.

Casting off from the ship, and spreading the sail, our voyage began. The pinnace glided swiftly through the
water, I stood at the helm, Ernest and Jack manned the guns, and Fritz gave the word of command, `Fire!' Bang!
bang! rattled out a thrilling report, which echoed and re-echoed among the cliffs, followed by our shouts and

My wife and her little boy rushed hastily forward from near the tent, and we could plainly see their alarm and
astonishment; but speedily recognizing us, they waved joyfully, and came quickly to the landing-place to meet

By skilful management we brought the pinnace near a projection of the bank, and Fritz assisted his mother to
come on board, where, breathless with haste and excitement, she exclaimed, `You dear, horrid, wonderful
people, shall I scold you or praise you? You have frightened me out of my wits! To see a beautiful little ship
come sailing in was startling enough, for I could not conceive who might be on board, but the report of your
guns made me tremble with fear—and had I not recognized your voices directly after, I should have run away
with Franz Heaven knows where!

`But have you really done all this work yourselves?' she continued, when we had been forgiven for terrifying
her with our vainglorious salute. `What a charming little yacht! I should not be afraid to sail in this myself.'
After the pinnace had been shown off, and received the admiration she deserved, while our industry, skill, and
perseverance met with boundless praise, `Now,' said my wife, `you must come with me, and see how little
Franz and I have improved our time every day of your absence.'

We all landed and, with great curiosity, followed my wife up the river towards the cascade; where, to our
astonishment, we found a garden neatly laid out in beds and walks; and she continued, `We don't frighten
people by firing salutes in honour of our performances; although, by and by, I too shall want fire in a peaceable
form. Look at my beds of lettuce and cabbages, my rows of beans and peas! Think what delicious dinners I shall
be able to cook for you, and give me credit for my diligence.'

`My dear wife!' I exclaimed. `This is beautiful! You have done wonders! Did you not find the work too hard?'

`The ground is light and easy to dig hereabouts,' she replied. `I have planted potatoes, and cassava-roots, there is
space for sugar-canes, and the young fruit trees, and I shall want you to contrive to irrigate them, by leading
water from the cascades in hollow bamboos. Up by the sheltering rocks I mean to have pineapples and melons,
they will look splendid when they spread there. To shelter the beds of European vegetables from the heat of the
sun, I have planted seeds of maize round them. The shadow of the tall plants will afford protection from the
burning rays. Do you think that is a good plan?'

`I do indeed; the whole arrangement is capital. Now, as sunset approaches, we must return to the tent for supper
and rest, for both of which we are all quite ready.'

The time passed in happy talk over our many new interests; everyone had the pleasant sensation which attends
successful labour, as well as experiencing the joy of affording unexpected pleasure to others; and I especially
pointed out to my sons how true, genuine happiness consists in that, rather than in mere self-gratification.

Next morning, my wife said: `If you can exist on shore long enough to visit Falconhurst, dear husband, I should
like you to attend to the little fruit trees. I fear they have been too much neglected. I have watered them
occasionally, and spread earth over the roots as they lay, but I could not manage to plant them.'

`You have done far more than I could have expected, my wife,' I replied, `and provided you do not ask me to
give up the sea altogether, I most willingly agree to your request, and will go to Falconhurst as soon as the raft
is unloaded, and everything safely arranged here.'

Life on shore was an agreeable change for us all, and the boys went actively to work, so that the stores were
quickly brought up to the tent, piled in order, and carefully covered with sailcloths, fastened down by pegs all
round. The pinnace, being provided with an anchor, was properly moored, and her elegant appearance quite
altered the look of our harbour, hitherto occupied only by the grotesque tub-boat, and flat uninteresting raft.

Taking an ample supply of everything we should require at Falconhurst, we were soon comfortably
reestablished in that charming abode, its peaceful shade seeming more delightful than ever, after the heat and
hard work we had lately undergone.

Several Sundays had passed during our stay at Tentholm, and the welcome Day of Rest now returned again, to
be observed with heartfelt devotion and grateful praise. I did not attempt too much in the form of preaching, as I
could not have secured the attention of my hearers to any long-winded discourses, but they were interested in
the Bible reading and simple instructions I drew from it, and their young voices joined sweetly in favorite
hymns, which my wife sang from memory.

In the evening, I desired my boys to let me see their dexterity in athletic exercises, such as running, leaping,
wrestling, and climbing; telling them that they must keep up the practise of these things, so as to grow strong
active men, powerful to repel and cope with danger, as well as agile and swift-footed to escape from it.
No man can be really courageous and self-reliant without an inward consciousness of physical power and

`I want to see my sons strong, both morally and physically,' said I; `that means, little Franz,' as the large blue
eyes looked inquiringly up at me, `brave to do what is good and right, and to hate evil, and strong to work, hunt
and provide for themselves and others, and to fight if necessary.'

On the following day, the boys seeming disposed to carry out my wishes by muscular exercise of all sorts, I
encouraged them by saying, I meant to prepare a curious new weapon for them, only they must promise not to
neglect the practise of archery: as to their guns, I had no reason to fear they would be laid aside.

Taking a long cord, I attached a leaden bullet to each end, and had instantly to answer a storm of questions as to
what this could possibly be for.

`This is a miniature lasso,' said I. `The Mexicans, Patagonians, and various tribes of South America, make use
of this weapon in hunting, with marvellous dexterity, only, having no bullets, they fasten stones to their ropes,
which are immensely longer than this. One end is swung round and round the mounted hunter's head, and then
cast with skill and precision towards the animal he wishes to strike; immediately drawing it back, he can repeat
the blow, and either kill or wound his prey.

`Frequently, however, the intention is to take the animal, wild horse, or buffalo, or whatever it may be, alive;
and in that case, the lasso is thrown, while riding in hot pursuit, in such a way as to make the stone twist many
times round the neck, body or legs of the fugitive, arresting him even in full career.'

`Oh, father, what a splendid contrivance! Will you try it now? There is the donkey, father! Do catch the

Not at all certain of my powers, I declined to practise upon a live subject, but consented to make a trial of skill
by aiming at the stump of a tree at no great distance.

My success surpassed my own expectations; the stump was entwined by the cord in such a way as to leave no
doubt whatever as to the feasibility of the wonderful performances I described; and I was assailed by petitions
from the boys, each anxious to possess a lasso of his own, without a moment's delay.

As the manufacture was simple, their wishes were speedily gratified, and lasso-practise became the order of the

Fritz, who was the most active and adroit, besides having, of course, the greatest muscular strength, soon
became skilled in the art.

That night a change came over the weather, and early next morning I perceived that a gale of wind was getting
up. From the height of our trees I could see that the surface of the sea was in violent agitation.

It was with no small satisfaction that I thought of our hard-won pinnace, safely moored in the harbour, and
recollected that there was nothing to call us to the wreck for the next few days.

My attention was by no means monopolized by my sons and their amusements. The good mother had much to
show me demanding my approval, advice, or assistance, as the case might be.

A good supply of wild pigeons and ortolans had been snared, partly cooked and preserved in lard. Of these she
showed me her small cask well filled.
Then the nests of various pairs of tame pigeons were exhibited, but her chief care was the unpromising
condition of her dear little fruit trees, for, having been forgotten, they were so dry and withered, that
unless planted without further delay, she feared we should lose them.

This needful work we set about, therefore, at once, proposing afterwards an excursion to the Calabash Wood, in
order to manufacture a large supply of vessels and utensils of all sorts and sizes.

Every one was inclined for this expedition; consequently the planting of the orchard was carried on with
surprising vigour, but was not completed until towards evening; and then all sorts of arrangements were made
for an early start next day. My wife and Franz were to be of the party, and their equipment took some time, for
we meant to make a grand family excursion attended by our domestic pets and servants!

By sunrise we were all astir, and everything quickly made ready for a start.

The sledge loaded with ammunition and baskets of provisions, and drawn by the donkey, was to be used for
carrying home our gourd manufactures, as well as any other prize we might fall in with.

Turk, as usual, headed the procession, clad in his coat of mail.

Then came the boys with their guns and game-bags. Their mother and I followed, and behind trotted Juno not in
very good spirits, poor dog!--because Master Knips, who had no idea of being left alone, must needs ride on her

On this occasion I took two guns with me, one loaded with shot for game, another with ball for our defence
against beasts of prey.

Flamingo Marsh was quickly crossed, and the magnificent country beyond lay extended in all its beauty and
fertility before our eyes. It was new to my wife and two of the boys, and the lovely prospect enchanted them.

Here Fritz and Jack turned aside into the bush, where presently loud barking was followed by the quick report
of a gun, and a large bird, which had risen from the thicket, fell heavily to the ground before us.

Far from resigning itself, however, to death or captivity, it sprang to its feet, and, unable to fly, rushed away
with extraordinary speed, hotly pursued by the excited dog, while Fritz ran panting in the same direction, and
Juno, eager to join the chase, sprang aside so suddenly, that her rider was flung unceremoniously on the sand, as
she darted to intercept the retreat of the active bird. This she cleverly accomplished, but its defence was
maintained so fiercely, as it struck out with its powerful legs and sharp claws, that neither Fritz nor the dogs
could master it.

I hastened to their assistance, and found Juno holding on nobly by the wing she had seized, while the bird,
which proved to be a magnificent bustard, struggled and fought fiercely. Watching my opportunity, I threw a
large handkerchief over it, and with difficulty succeeded in binding its legs and wings. It was borne in triumph
to the rest of our party, who meantime had been reclining on the sand.

`What have you got?'

`What has Fritz shot?' cried the boys, starting up at our approach.

`A bustard! Oh, that is splendid!'
`To be sure, it is the one we missed that day, don't you remember, mother? Ah, ha! Old fellow, you are done for
this time!' said Jack.

`I think this is a hen bustard, it is the mother bird,' said Ernest.

`Ah, yes, poor thing!' exclaimed my wife, in a tone of concern. `It is most likely the same, and I know she had a
brood of young birds, and now they will be left unprotected and miserable. Had we not better let her go?'

`Why, my dear, kind-hearted wife, that was weeks and weeks ago! Those little birds are all strong and big by
this time, and I daresay Mrs. Bustard here has forgotten all about them. Besides, she is badly wounded, and we
must try to cure the hurt. If we succeed, she will be a valuable addition to our poultry-yard; if we cannot, you
shall roast her for dinner.'

Resuming our march, we next arrived at the Monkey Grove, which was the scene of the tragicomic adventure
by which Fritz became the guardian of the orphan ape.

While he amused us all by a lively and graphic description of the scene, Ernest was standing apart under a
splendid cocoanut palm, gazing in fixed admiration at the grand height of the stem, and its beautiful graceful
crown of leaves. The cluster of nuts beneath these evidently added interest to the spectacle, for, drawing quietly
near him, I heard a long-drawn sigh, and the words:

`It's awfully high! I wish one would fall down!' Scarcely had he uttered these words, than, as if by magic, down
plumped a huge nut at his feet.

The boy was quite startled, and sprang aside, looking timidly upwards, when, to my surprise, down came

`Why, this is just like the fairy tale of the wishing-cap!' cried Ernest. `My wish is granted as soon as formed!'

`I suspect the fairy in this instance is more anxious to pelt us and drive us away, than to bestow dainty gifts
upon us,' said I. `I think there is most likely a cross-grained old ape sitting up among those shadowy leaves and

We examined the nuts, thinking they were perhaps old ones, and had fallen, in consequence, naturally, but they
were not even quite ripe.

Anxious to discover what was in the tree, we all surrounded it, gaping and gazing upwards with curious eyes.

`Hollo! I see him!' shouted Fritz presently. `Oh, a hideous creature! What can it be? Flat, round, as big as a
plate, and with a pair of horrid claws! Here he comes! He is going to creep down the tree!'

At this, little Franz slipped behind his mother, Ernest took a glance round to mark a place of retreat, Jack raised
the butt-end of his gun, and every eye was fixed on the trunk of the tree, down which a large land-crab
commenced a leisurely descent. As it approached within reach, Jack hit at it boldly, when it suddenly dropped
the remaining distance, and opening its great claws, sidled after him with considerable rapidity, upon which he
fairly turned tail and ran.

We all burst into a roar of laughter, which soon made him face about, and then, to our infinite amusement, the
little fellow prepared for a fresh onset; laying down all he was carrying, pulling off his jacket and spreading it
wide out in both hands, he returned to the charge, suddenly threw his garment over the creature, wrapped it well
round it, and then pummelled it with all the strength of his fists.
For a few minutes I could do nothing but laugh, but then running to him with my hatchet, I struck several sharp
blows on his bundle, which we opened carefully, and found within the land-crab perfectly dead.

`Well, this is an ugly rascal!' cried Jack. `If he hadn't been so hideous, I should not have dealt so severely with
him. I wasn't a bit afraid. What is the creature's name?'

`This is a crab, a land-crab,' said I, `of which there are many varieties, and this, I think, is called a cocoanut
crab, or at least it deserves the name, for it is evidently very fond of eating these nuts, since it takes the trouble
to climb the trees for them; the difficulty of getting at the kernel, too, is considerable. You showed no little
presence of mind, Jack, when you thought of catching it in your jacket; in fact it might have been more than a
match for you otherwise, for some are most determined fighters, and are very swift too. Now let us take it, as
well as the nuts, to the sledge, and go on our way.'

Progress became difficult, for we were constantly stopped in passing through the wood, by having to cut away
the hanging boughs and creeping plants which interlaced them. Ernest was behind, and by and by called me
back to see what proved to be an important discovery; from the several stalks of one of these creepers flowed
clear cold water, and I recognized the 'liane rouge', which is known in America, and is so precious to the thirsty
hunter or traveller.

This is truly one of God's good gifts to man! The boys were much delighted with this curious plant. `Only
fancy, mother,' said Ernest, as he showed it to her, `how cheering and refreshing to find this if one were lost and
alone in a vast forest, wandering for days and days without being near a proper spring of water.'

`But are you certain it is safe to drink this?' asked she. I assured her it was so, and advised the boys to cut
enough to quench the thirst of the whole party, including our animals. This they did, only finding it necessary,
as with the sugar canes, to cut air holes above the joints.

After struggling onward for a short time, we emerged from the thickets into open ground, and saw the calabash
trees in the distance. As we drew near, their curious appearance and singular fruit caused much surprise and also
amusement, for we were speedily established among the trees, where, as I chose and cut down the gourds most
likely to be useful, every one engaged merrily in the work of cutting, carving, sawing and scooping some
manner of dish, bowl, cup, jar or platter, according to his several taste or ability.

We were to dine here, and after a time Fritz and Jack began to prepare a fireplace, their great ambition being to
heat the stones red hot, and cook the crab in a hollow gourd. Their mother, therefore, left them to their own
devices, and attended to the hungry animals, unharnessing the ass to graze, and giving cocoanut milk to the poor
little monkey, who had been obliged to travel in a covered basket for some time, lest he should be lost in the
woods. The wounded bustard had been completely forgotten, and from heat and thirst was suffering greatly
until her friendly care revived it, and it was tied to a tree and allowed to move about, its fierce spirit greatly
tamed by adversity.

The cooking operations came to a stand soon after the fire was lighted, for it appeared that we had no more
water in the jars we had brought, so the boys proposed to go in search of a spring. I agreed to
accompany them; Ernest also wished to join us, and as our intention was to examine merely the surrounding
wood, I saw no objection to leaving their mother and Franz for a short time.

Very soon after our exploration began, Ernest, who was in front, turned with a face of terror, shouting, `A wild
boar! An immense wild boar, father! Do come quick!'

And, sure enough, I heard a loud snorting and puffing as some large animal passed hastily through the thick
underwood beyond us. `After him, lads, after him!' cried I, hurrying forwards. `Call the dogs! Stand ready to
fire!' And we pressed through the bushes to the spot where Ernest had seen the creature.
The ground was grubbed up, and some potatoes lay about, showing that we had disturbed him at his mid-day
meal. Ernest and Jack were more disposed to gather the roots than to follow up the chase. Fritz and I alone went
after the dogs, who eagerly pushed on, and by the sounds we heard had evidently attacked the boar at no great
distance. Terrific barking, snarling and grunting, guided us to the scene of action, and we beheld our mastiffs
one on each side of a large respectable-looking pig, holding on by the great ears, while the animal, on seeing us,
appeared rather to beseech our interference than to propose to offer a desperate resistance.

In a moment the truth became apparent! The captive grunter was no fierce native of the forest, but our own
runaway sow! Our excitement had been wound to so high a pitch, that the discovery was quite a shock, and we
felt half angry with the creature who had disappointed us; then the absurdity of the whole thing made us laugh
heartily, and calling off the dogs, the old lady was released from her ignominious position.

Our laughter resounding through the wood, brought Ernest and Jack from their potatoes, to see what was going

`Much use you two would have been suppose we had required help,' cried Fritz, as they too recognized their old

`Ah, well, you see,' returned Jack, `Ernest and I had a sort of a kind of presentiment that this was going to be the
old sow. And just look at our fine potatoes!'

A good deal of joking on the subject ensued, but was interrupted by Ernest, who drew our attention to fruit
resembling apples on the surrounding bushes, and on the grass beneath them.

The sow was making amends for the fright and pain she had endured by munching and crunching this fruit at a
great rate. Fritz feared that it might be the poisonous manchineel, against which I once warned them, but on
examining it, I was induced to pronounce a more favourable opinion, and we collected a quantity in hopes that,
if the monkey approved of it as well as the old sow, we might be able to enjoy a feast ourselves.

All this time not a drop of water had we seen, and our own thirst increasing, we felt eager to procure some
before returning to our resting-place.

Jack preceded us, and we made our way towards a high rock, which rose above the thickets, when he suddenly
startled us by a loud cry of `A crocodile! Father! Father! A crocodile!'

`Nonsense, boy! A crocodile of all things, in this dry, parched forest, where we can't get so much as a mouthful
of water!'

On advancing to where Jack stood, I perceived that his mistake was not so very silly after all, for I beheld an
iguana, one of the largest of the lizard species, and a truly formidable-looking fellow. I was glad to assure Jack
that the strange creature he had found was perfectly harmless, and that its flesh being esteemed a delicacy, it
would be a valuable prize to carry back with us.

In another moment Fritz would have fired, but arresting his hand--`Your shot,' I said, `would probably only
wound the animal, and being extremely tenacious of life, it would certainly escape us; we must gain possession
of the sleeping beauty by a gentler method.'

`You are not going to kiss it, are you, father?' asked Jack, with a grin. I tried to rebuke him for his impertinence,
but, failing, I commenced operations. I first attached a cord and running-noose to a stout stick, and holding a
light switch in my other hand, I began to approach the creature with soft, slow steps, while the boys looked on
with the utmost curiosity.
Presently I began very softly to whistle a sweet, yet very lively air, which I continued more and more distinctly
as I drew near the lizard; until, awaking, it seemed to listen with pleasure--raising its head as though better to
catch the sounds, or to discover whence they came.

When near enough, I began gently to stroke and tickle him with the wand, continuing to whistle the prettiest
tunes I could think of; and the lizard gave signs of pleasurable contentment, stretching his limbs and moving his
tail in token of enjoyment.

Suddenly, availing myself of a movement of his head, I cast the noose over it, drew the cord tight and, placing
my foot on the body, I was about to kill it by piercing the nostril--almost the only vulnerable part in this singular
reptile--when Jack received such a slap from its tail, which it was furiously driving in all directions, as sent him
rolling over like a nine-pin.

At the same time he opened his jaws, when the boys took fright at the row of sharp teeth, and thinking that the
sooner he was dead the better, were for battering him with sticks; but I assuring them my method would kill him
more quickly and without pain, thrust my rod into his nostril, on which the blood flowed and the lizard soon

The boys seemed to think me as wonderful a person as a snake-charmer, and the success of my stratagem, as
well as of the means by which the lizard was slain, called forth great admiration, since they never had heard of
the animal, nor of the method of capturing it so commonly practised in the West Indies.

Now came the question of how we were to carry this unwieldy burden. I had a great dislike to killing any
creature and leaving it useless behind me; so, without more ado, I fairly took it on my back, and marched off
with it.

As we came towards the Calabash Wood, we could hear the voices of the deserted mother and child calling us
in anxious tones; for indeed our protracted absence alarmed them. We shouted joyously in reply, and our
appearance, as we issued from the woods, afforded them welcome relief from their fears, although the dreadful
creature on my back startled them not a little.

There was so much to tell, so much to be seen, that for a time hunger and thirst were forgotten; and no one
thought even of the water we had vainly gone in search of, until Master Knips, having slyly possessed himself
of some of our new-found apples, was discovered munching away and enjoying them amazingly--which
instantly gave the boys a strong wish to eat some also; and as the bustard likewise pecked at them without
hesitation, I felt sure there could be no danger; and on tasting them, I concluded it was the fruit of the guava, a
West Indian plant, which we were delighted to have.

Although refreshing, this fruit rather sharpened than appeased our appetites, and we were glad to eat the
provisions we had brought from home, without waiting to cook anything, as we had originally intended.

It was, in fact, high time to move homewards, and we thought it best not to encumber ourselves with the sledge
and the greater part of its load, but to leave it until the next day. The ass was laden with the iguana and the
bustard; and little Franz, tired as he was, looked in vain for a spare seat on its back.

Our road home lay through a majestic forest of oak trees, beneath which lay numberless acorns, some of which
we gathered as we went along; and at length, before night closed in, we all reached Falconhurst in safety. When
supper was ready, we were thankful to recruit our exhausted strength by eating heartily of a piece of broiled
iguana, with potatoes and roast acorns, which tasted like excellent chestnuts.
                                                 Chapter 7

The first thing to be done on the following day was to return to the Calabash Wood, to fetch the sledge with the
dishes, bowls and baskets we had made.

Fritz alone accompanied me. I desired the other boys to remain with their mother, intending to explore beyond
the chain of rocky hills, and thinking a large party undesirable on the occasion.

Passing through the wood of evergreen oaks, we observed our sow feasting on the acorns, evidently not a whit
the worse for the fright we had given her the previous day--in fact, she appeared more friendly disposed towards
us than usual, possibly considering us as her deliverers from the jaws of the savage dogs.

Many birds tenanted this grove, and were undisturbed by our movements, until Fritz fired and shot a beautiful
blue jay, and a couple of parakeets, one a brilliant scarlet, the other green and gold. Fritz was in the act of
reloading his gun, when an unaccountable noise struck our ears, and put us instantly on the alert, because it
appeared like the dull thumping sound of a muffled drum, and reminded us of the possible presence of savages.

With the greatest caution we drew nearer the sound, concealing ourselves among the low bushes and thick grass
and creepers, until we reached an open glade; where, standing on an old prostrate log, was a beautiful bird,
about the size of a cock, of a rich chestnut brown colour, finely mottled with dark brown and grey. On the
shoulders were curious tufts of velvety black feathers, glossed with green. He was ruffling his wings, erecting
his tail and neck feathers, strutting and wheeling about in a most strange and stately fashion.

After manoeuvring for some time in this manner, greatly to the edification of a party of birds resembling him
but without any ruff, who, assembled round the stump, were enjoying his performances, he spread out his tail
like a fan, stiffened his wings, and began to strike with them in short, rapid beats, faster and faster, until a
rumbling sound like very distant thunder was produced, and the whirring wings enveloped him as in a cloud.

This was the drumming noise which had alarmed us, increased, as I imagine, by the wing strokes falling at
times on the decayed and hollow stump on which the curious pantomime was acted.

I was watching it with the utmost interest, when a shot from behind me was fired, and in a moment the play was
at an end; my over-hasty son had changed the pretty comedy into a sad and needless tragedy. The enthusiastic
drummer fell dead from his perch, and the crowd of admiring companions fled in dismay.

The cruel interruption of a scene so rare and remarkable annoyed me extremely, and I blamed Fritz for firing
without my leave. I felt sure the bird was the ruffed grouse, and a very fine specimen.

We placed it on the ass, which was patiently awaiting our return, and went on our way.

The sledge was quite safe where we had left it; it was early in the day, and I resolved to explore, as I had
intended, the line of cliff and rocky hills, which, at more or less distance from the seashore, extended the whole
length of coast known or visible to us.

I desired to discover an opening, if any existed, by which to penetrate the interior of the country, or to ascertain
positively that we were walled in and isolated on this portion of the coast. Leaving Calabash Wood behind us,
we advanced over ground covered with manioc, potatoes and many plants unknown to us; pleasant streamlets
watered the fruitful soil, and the view on all sides was open and agreeable.
Some bushes attracted my notice, loaded with small white berries, of peculiar appearance like wax, and very
sticky when plucked. I recognized in this a plant called by botanists Myrica cerifera, and with much pleasure
explained to Fritz that, by melting and straining these berries, we might easily succeed in making candles, and
afford very great satisfaction to his mother, who did not at all approve of having to lay her work aside and retire
to rest the moment the sun set.

The greenish wax to be obtained would be more brittle than bees' wax, but it would burn very fairly, and diffuse
an agreeable perfume. Having the ass with us, we lost no time in gathering berries enough to fill one of the large
canvas bags he carried, and we then continued our route.

Very soon we met with another natural curiosity, the curious appearance of which surprised us much. This was
the abode, under one roof, of a whole colony of birds, about the size of yellowhammers, but of plain brown
plumage. The nests were built in a mass round the stem and among the branches of a tree standing alone, and a
kind of roof formed of grass, straws and fibres covered them all, and sheltered the community from rain and the
heat of the sun.

There were numbers of openings into the irregular sides of the group of dwellings, the nests resembling
different apartments in a house common to all; twigs and small branches emerged here and there from the walls,
and served as perches for the young birds, and resting-places and posts of observation for all. The general
appearance of the establishment reminded us of a huge bath-sponge.

The feathered inhabitants swarmed in and out by thousands, and we saw among them many beautiful little
parrots, who seemed in many instances to contest possession of the nest with the lawful owners.

Fritz, being an expert climber and exceedingly anxious to examine the nests more closely, ascended the tree,
hoping to obtain one or two young birds, if any were hatched. He put his hand into several holes, which were
empty; but at last his intended theft and robbery met with repulse and chastisement he little expected; for,
reaching far back into a nest, his finger was seized and sharply bitten by a very strong beak, so that with a cry
he withdrew his hand, and shook it vigorously to lessen the pain.

Recovering from the surprise, he again and more resolutely seized the unkind bird, and, despite its shrieks and
screams, drew it from its retreat, crammed it into his pocket, buttoned up his coat and slid quickly to the ground,
pursued by numbers of the captive's relations, who darted from the other holes and flew round the robber,
screeching and pecking at him in a rage.

Fritz's prize was not one of the real owners of the nests, which were those of the sociable grosbeak, but a very
pretty, small, green parrot, with which he was greatly pleased, and which he at once determined to tame and
teach to speak; for the present, it was carefully remanded to prison in his pocket.

This curious colony of birds afforded us matter of conversation as we went on our way; their cheerful sociable
habits, and the instinct which prompted them to unite in labour for the common good, appearing most
wonderful to us.

`Examples of the kind, however,' said I, `are numerous, in various classes of animals. Beavers, for instance,
build and live together in a very remarkable way. Among insects, bees, wasps, and ants are well known as
social architects; in like manner, the coral insect works wonders beneath the ocean waves, by force of
perseverance and united effort.'

`I have often watched ants at work,' said Fritz; `it is most amusing to see how they carry on the various works
and duties of their commonwealth.'
`Have you ever noticed how much trouble they take with the eggs?' inquired I, to see how far he understood the
process; `carrying them about in the warmth of the sun until they are hatched?'

`Ah! That is rather the chrysalis of the antworm, or larva, which is produced from an egg. I know they are called
ants' eggs, but strictly speaking, that is incorrect.'

`You are perfectly right, my boy. Well, if you have taken so much interest in watching the little ants of your
native country, how delighted and astonished you would be to see the wonders performed by the vast tribes of
large ants in foreign lands.

`Some of these build heaps or nests, four or six feet high and proportionately broad, which are so strong and
firm that they defy equally sunshine and rain. They are, within, divided into regular streets, galleries, vaults, and
nurseries. So firmly are these mounds built, that with interior alterations, a deserted one might be used for
a baking-oven.

`The ant, although respected since the days of King Solomon as a model of industry, is not in itself an attractive

`It exudes a sticky moisture, its smell is unpleasant, and it destroys and devours whatever eatable comes in its
way. Although in our own country it does little harm, the large ants of foreign lands are most destructive and
troublesome; it being very difficult to check their depredations. Fortunately they have enemies by whose
exertions their numbers are kept down; birds, other insects, and even four-footed beasts prey upon them.

`Chief among the latter is the ant-eater, or tamanoir, of South America, a large creature six or seven feet in
length, covered with long coarse hair, drooping like a heavy plume over the hind quarters. The head is
wonderfully elongated and very narrow; it is destitute of teeth, and the tongue resembles somewhat a large great
red earth-worm. It has immensely strong curved claws, with which it tears and breaks down and scratches to
pieces the hard walls of the ant-heaps; then, protruding its sticky tongue, it coils and twists it about among the
terrified millions disturbed by its attack; they adhere to this horrible invader, and are drawn irresistibly
backward into the hungry, toothless jaws awaiting them.

`The little ant-eater is not more than about twenty-one inches in length, has a shorter and more natural looking
head, and fine silky fur. It usually lives in trees.'

I was pleased to find my memory served me so well on this subject, as it interested my boy amazingly; and
occupied us for a considerable time while we traveled onward.

Arriving presently at a grove of tall trees, with very strong, broad, thick leaves, we paused to examine them;
they bore a round fig-like fruit, full of little seeds and of a sour harsh taste.

Fritz saw some gummy resin exuding from cracks in the bark, and it reminded him of the boyish delight
afforded by collecting gum from cherry-trees at home, so that he must needs stop to scrape off as much as he
could. He rejoined me presently, attempting to soften what he had collected in his hands; but finding it would
not work like gum, he was about to fling it away, when he suddenly found that he could stretch it, and that it
sprang back to its original size.

`Oh father, only look! This gum is quite elastic! Can it possibly be india-rubber?'

`What!' cried I, `Let me see it! A valuable discovery that would be, indeed; and I do believe you are perfectly
`Why would it be so very valuable, father?' inquired Fritz. `I have only seen it used for rubbing out pencil

`India-rubber,' I replied, `or, more properly, caoutchouc, is a milky resinous juice which flows from certain trees
in considerable quantities when the stem is purposely tapped.

`These trees are indigenous to the South American countries of Brazil, Guiana, and Cayenne. The natives, who
first obtained it, used it to form bottles by smearing earthen flasks with repeated coatings of the gum when just
fresh from the trees, and when hardened and sufficiently thick, they broke the mold, shook out the fragments,
and hung the bottles in the smoke, when they became firmer, and of a dark color.

`While moist, the savages were in the habit of drawing rude figures and lines on the resin by way of adornment;
these marks you may have observed, for the bottles obtained from the natives by the Spaniards and Portuguese
have for years been brought to Europe, and cut into portions to be sold for use in drawing. Caoutchouc can be
put to many uses, and I am delighted to have it here, as we shall, I hope, be able to make it into different forms;
first and foremost, I shall try to manufacture boots and shoes.'

Soon after making this discovery, we reached the cocoanut wood, and saw the bay extending before us, and the
great promontory we called Cape Disappointment, which hitherto had always bounded our excursions. In
passing through the wood, I remarked a smaller sort of palm, which, among its grand companions, I had not
previously noticed. One of these had been broken by the wind, and I saw that the pith had a peculiar mealy
appearance, and I felt convinced that this was the world-renowned sago-palm.

In the pith I saw some fat worms or maggots, and suddenly recollected that I had heard of them before as
feeding on the sago, and that in the West Indies they are eaten as a delicacy.

I felt inclined to try what they tasted like; so at once kindling a fire, and placing some half dozen, sprinkled with
salt, on a little wooden spit, I set them to roast.

Very soon rich fat began to drop from them, and they smelt so temptingly good, that all repugnance to the idea
of eating worms vanished; and, putting one like a pat of butter on a baked potato, I boldly swallowed it, and
liked it so much, that several others followed in the same way. Fritz also summoned courage to partake of this
novel food; which was a savoury addition to our dinner of baked potatoes.

Being once more ready to start, we found so dense a thicket in the direct route, that we turned aside without
attempting to penetrate it, and made our way towards the sugar-brake near Cape Disappointment. This we could
not pass without cutting a handsome bundle of sugar-canes, and the donkey carried that, in addition to the bag
of wax berries.

In time we reached the sledge in Calabash Wood: the ass was unloaded, everything placed on the sledge, and
our patient beast began calmly and readily to drag the burden he had hitherto borne on his back.

No further adventure befell us, and we arrived in the evening at Falconhurst, where our welcome was as warm
as usual--all we had to tell, listened to with the greatest interest, all we had to show, most eagerly examined, the
pretty green parakeet enchanting the boys most particularly.

An excellent supper was ready for us, and with thankful hearts we enjoyed it together; then, ascending to our
tree-castle, and drawing up the ladder after us, we betook ourselves to the repose well earned and greatly needed
after this fatiguing day.

The idea of candle-making seemed to have taken the fancy of all the boys; and next morning they woke, one
after the other, with the word candle on their lips. When they were thoroughly roused they continued to talk
candles; all breakfast-time, candles were the subject of conversation; and after breakfast they would hear of
nothing else but setting to work at once and making candles.

`So be it,' said I, `let us become chandlers.' I spoke confidently, but, to tell the truth, I had in my own mind
certain misgivings as to the result of our experiment. In the first place, I knew that we lacked a very important
ingredient--animal fat, which is necessary to make candles burn for any length of time with brilliancy. Besides
this, I rather doubted how far my memory would recall the various operations necessary in the manufacture.

Of all this, however, I said nothing; and the boys, under my direction, were soon at work. We first picked off
the berries and threw them into a large shallow iron vessel placed on the fire. The green sweet-scented wax was
rapidly melted, rising to the surface of the juice yielded by the berries. This we skimmed off and placed in a
separate pot by the fire, ready for use, repeating the operation several times, until we had collected sufficient
liquid wax for our purpose. I then took the wicks my wife had prepared, and dipped them one after the other
into the wax, handing them as I did so to Fritz, who hung them up on a bush to dry.

The coating they thus obtained, was not very thick; but, by repeating the operation several times, they at length
assumed very fair proportions, and became real sturdy candles. Our wax being at an end, we hung these in a
cool shady place to harden; and that same night we sat up like civilized beings three whole hours after sunset,
and Falconhurst was for the first time brilliantly illuminated.

We were all delighted with the success of our experiment. `You are indeed clever,' said my wife, `I only wish
that with your ingenuity you would show me how to make butter. Day after day, I have the annoyance of seeing
a large supply of good cream go bad under my very eyes, simply because I have no use to which to put it.
Invent a plan, please do.'

`I think that perhaps I can help you,' I replied after a little consideration, `not that I can claim the honour of the
invention of my plan, that is due to the Hottentots. I will see what I can do. Jack, bring me one of our gourd

I took the gourd, one of those I had previously prepared, with a small hole at one end and well hollowed-out and
cleaned; this I partially filled with cream and then corked up the hole tightly.

`Here, boys,' said I, `you can continue the operation while I turn carpenter and make a cart to take the place of
our sledge.' I gave them their directions, and then set about my own work.

They fixed four posts in the ground, and to them fastened a square piece of sailcloth by four cords attached to
the corners. In this cradle they placed the gourd of cream, and each taking a side, rolled it backwards and
forwards continuously for half an hour.

`Now,' I cried, looking up from my work, `open the gourd and take the contents to your mother, with my

They did so; and my good wife's eyes were delighted with the sight of a large lump of capital fresh butter.

With my son's assistance the cart was in time completed; a clumsy vehicle it was, but strong enough for any
purpose to which we might put it, and, as it proved, of immense use to us in collecting the harvest.

We then turned our attention to our fruit trees, which we had planted in a plot ready for transplanting. The
walnut, cherry, and chestnut trees we arranged in parallel rows so as to form a shady avenue from Falconhurst
to Family-bridge; and between them we laid down a tolerable road, that we might have no difficulty in reaching
Tentholm, be the weather bad as it might.
We planted the vines round the arched roots of our great mangrove, and the rest of the trees in suitable spots;
some near Falconhurst, and others away over Jackal river, to adorn Tentholm. Tentholm had been the subject of
serious thoughts to me for some time past, and I now turned all my attention thither. It was not my ambition to
make it beautiful, but to form of it a safe place of refuge in a case of emergency.

My first care, therefore, was to plant a thick prickly hedge, capable of protecting us from any wild animal, and
forming a tolerable obstacle to the attack of even savages, should they appear. Not satisfied with this, however,
we fortified the bridge, and on a couple of hillocks mounted two guns which we brought from the wreck, and
with whose angry mouths we might bark defiance at any enemy, man or beast.

Six weeks slipped away while we were thus busily occupied, six weeks of hard yet pleasant labour. We greeted
each Sunday and its accompanying rest most gratefully, and on that day always especially thanked God for our
continued health and safety.

I soon saw that this hard work was developing in the boys remarkable strength, and this I encouraged by making
them practise running, leaping, climbing, and swimming; I also saw, however, that it was having a less
satisfactory effect upon their clothes, which, though a short time before remarkably neat, were now, in spite of
mending and patching, most untidy and disreputable.

I determined, therefore, to pay another visit to the wreck, to replenish our wardrobe and to see how much longer
the vessel was likely to hold together. Three of the boys and I went off in the pinnace. The old ship seemed in
much the same condition as when we had left her, a few more planks had gone, but that was all.

`Come, boys,' cried I, `not an article of the slightest value must be left on board; rummage her out to the very
bottom of her hold.'

They took me at my word: sailors' chests, bales of cloth and linen, a couple of small guns, ball and shot, tables,
benches, window shutters, bolts and locks, barrels of pitch, all were soon in a heap on the deck. We loaded the
pinnace and went on shore.

We soon returned with our tub-boat in tow, and after a few more trips nothing was left on board.

`One more trip,' said I to my wife, before we started again, `and there will be the end of the brave ship which
carried us from Switzerland. I have left two barrels of gunpowder on board, and mean to blow her up.'

Before we lighted the fuse, I discovered a large copper cauldron which I thought I might save. I made fast to it a
couple of empty casks, that when the ship went up it might float. The barrels were placed, the train lighted, and
we returned on shore.

The supper was laid outside the tent, at a spot from whence we might obtain a good view of the wreck.
Darkness came on. Suddenly a vivid pillar of fire rose from the black waters, a sullen roar boomed across the
sea, and we knew that our good old ship was no more.

We had planned the destruction of the vessel, we knew that it was for the best; and yet that night we went to bed
with a feeling of sadness in our hearts, as though we had lost a dear old friend.

Next morning all our sadness was dispelled, and it was with pleasure that we saw the shore lined with a rich
store of planks and beams, the remnants of the wreck. I soon found, too, the copper cauldron which was
successfully floated by the casks; this I got on shore, and hauling it up among the rocks, stored under it the
powder casks we had landed the day before.
Collecting all these valuables gave us some little trouble, and while we were thus engaged my wife brought us
good news. She had discovered that two ducks and a goose had each reared a large family among the reeds by
the river; and they presently appeared waddling past us, apparently vastly well-pleased with their performance.
We greeted them joyfully.

`Hurrah!' cried Ernest. `We'll be able to afford duck and green peas some day soon, and imagine we're once
more civilized mortals.'

The sight of these birds reminded me of our family at Falconhurst, and I announced my intention of paying
them a visit.

Everyone was delighted, and everyone would come with me. As we approached Falconhurst I noticed that
several young trees in our avenue were considerably bent by the wind, and this resolved me to make an
expedition next day to cut bamboos for their support.

As Fritz was the only one besides myself who had visited Cape Disappointment and the surrounding country,
my wife and the younger boys begged hard to be allowed to accompany me. I consented; and next morning we
started, bringing with us the cart, drawn by the cow and ass, and laden with everything necessary for an
expedition of several days--a tent, provisions, a large supply of ammunition, and all sorts of implements and
utensils; for I intended to make a great collection of fruits and the produce of different trees.

It was a lovely morning, and passing gaily through the plantations of potatoes, manioc and cassavas, we came to
the nests of the sociable grosbeak, the sight of which charmed the children immensely.

We reached the wax trees, and there I called a halt, for I wished to gather a sack or two of the berries that we
might renew our stock of candles. The berries were soon plucked; and I stored them away amongst the bushes,
marking the spot that we might find them on our return.

`Now for the caoutchouc tree,' said I, `now for waterproof boots and leggings to keep your feet dry, Ernest.' To
the caoutchouc tree we directed our steps, and were soon busily engaged in stabbing the bark and placing
vessels beneath to catch the sap.

We again moved forward; and, crossing the palm wood, entered upon a delightful plain bounded on one side by
an extensive field of waving sugar-cane, on the other by a thicket of bamboos and lovely palms, while in front
stretched the shining sea, calm and noiseless.

`How beautiful!' exclaimed Jack. `Let us pitch our tent here and stay here always instead of living at
Falconhurst. It would be jolly.'

`Very likely,' replied I, `and so would be the attacks of wild beasts; imagine a great tiger lying in wait in the
thicket yonder, and pouncing out on us at night. No, no, thank you, I much prefer our nest in the tree, or our
impregnable position at Tentholm. We must make this our headquarters for the present, however; for, though
perhaps dangerous, it is the most convenient spot we shall find. Call a halt and pitch the tent.'

Our beasts were quickly unyoked, the tent arranged, a large fire lit, supper prepared, and we dispersed in
various directions, some to cut bamboos, and some to collect sugar-cane. We then returned; and, as supper was
still not quite ready and the boys were hungry, they decided to obtain some cocoanuts. This time, however, no
assistance was to be had from either monkeys or land-crabs, and they gazed up with longing eyes at the fruit
above them.
`We can climb,' said Fritz, `up with you, boys.' Jack and he each rushed at one of the smooth slippery trunks;
right vigorously they struggled upwards, but to no purpose; before they had accomplished one quarter of the
distance they found themselves slipping rapidly to the ground.

`Here, you young athletes,' cried I, `I foresaw this difficulty, and have provided for it.' So saying I held up
buskins of shark's skin which I had previously prepared, and which I now bound on to their legs. Thus equipped
they again attempted the ascent, and with a loop of rope passed round their body and the trunk of the tree,
quickly reached the summit.

My wife joined me, and together we watched the boys as they ascended tree after tree, throwing down the best
fruit from each. They then returned, and jestingly begged Ernest to produce the result of his labour. The
professor had been lying on the grass gazing at the palms; but, on this sarcastic remark, he sprang to his feet.
`Willingly,' he exclaimed, and seizing a pair of buskins he quickly donned them.

`Give me a cocoanut shell,' said he. I gave him one, and he put it in his pocket. He ran to a tree, and, with an
agility which surprised us all, quickly reached the top.

No sooner had he done so than Fritz and Jack burst into a roar of laughter. He had swarmed a tree which bore
no nuts. Ernest apparently heard them; for, as it seemed in a fit of anger, he drew his knife and severed the leafy
crest, which fell to the ground. I glanced up at him, surprised at such a display of temper. But a bright smile
greeted me, and in a merry tone he shouted:

`Jack, pick that palm-cabbage up and take it to father; that is only half my contribution, and it is worth all your
nuts put together.'

He spoke truly: the cabbage-palm is rare, and the tuft of leaves at its summit is greatly prized by the South
Americans for its great delicacy and highly nutritive qualities.

`Bravo!' I cried. `You have retrieved your character; come down and receive the thanks of the company, what
are you waiting up there for?'

`I am coming presently,' he replied, `with the second half of my contribution; I hope it will be as fully
appreciated as the first.' In a short time he slipped down the tree, and, advancing to his mother, presented her
with the nutshell he had taken up with him.

`Here,' he said, `is a wine which the greatest connoisseur would prize. Taste it, mother.'

The shell was filled with a clear rosy liquor, bright and sparkling.

My wife tasted it. `Excellent, excellent,' she exclaimed. `Your very good health, my dear boy!'

We drank the rosy wine in turn, and Ernest received hearty thanks from all.

It was getting late, and while we were enjoying our supper before our tent, our donkey, who had been quietly
browsing near us, suddenly set up a loud bray, and, without the least apparent cause, pricked up his ears, threw
up his heels, and galloped off into the thicket of bamboos. We followed for a short distance, and I sent the dogs
in chase, but they returned without our friend, and, as it was late, we were obliged to abandon the chase.

I was annoyed by this incident, and even alarmed; for not only had we lost the ass, but I knew not what had
occasioned his sudden flight. I knew not whether he was aware, by instinct, of the approach of some fierce wild
beast. I said nothing of this to my family, but, making up an unusually large fire, I bade them sleep with their
weapons by their sides, and we all lay down.
A bright morning awoke us early, and I rose and looked out, thinking that perhaps our poor donkey might have
been attracted by the light of the fires, and have returned. Alas, not a sign of him was to be seen. As we could
not afford to lose so valuable a beast, I determined to leave no attempt untried to regain him.

We hurriedly breakfasted, and, as I required the dogs to assist me in the search, I left my elder sons to protect
their mother, and bade Jack get ready for a day's march. This arrangement delighted him, and we quickly set

For an hour or more we trudged onwards, directed by the print of the ass's hoofs. Sometimes we lost the track
for a while, and then again discovered it as we reached softer soil. Finally this guide failed us altogether, for the
donkey seemed to have joined in with a herd of some larger animals, with whose hoof-prints his had mingled.

I now almost turned back in despair, but Jack urged me to continue the search. `For,' said he, `if we once get
upon a hill we shall see such a large herd as this must be at almost any distance. Do let us go on, father.'

I consented, and we again pushed forwards, through bushes, and over torrents, sometimes cutting our way with
an axe, and sometimes plunging knee-deep through a swamp. We at length reached the border of a wide plain,
and on it, in the distance, I could see a herd of animals, browsing on the rich grass. It struck me that it might be
the very herd to which our good donkey had joined himself; and, wishing to ascertain whether this was so, I
resolved to make a detour through a bamboo marsh, and get as near as possible to the animals without
disturbing them.

The bamboos were huge, many of them over thirty feet in height; and, as we made our way through them, I
remembered an account of the giant cane of South America, which is greatly prized by the Indians on account
of its extreme usefulness; the reeds themselves make masts for their canoes, while each joint will form a cask or

I was delighted, for I had little doubt that the bamboos we were among were of the same species. I explained
this to Jack, and as we discussed the possibility of cutting one down and carrying a portion of it home, we
reached the border of the marsh, and emerged upon the plain.

There we suddenly found ourselves face to face with the herd which we sought--a herd of buffaloes. They
looked up, and stared at us inquisitively, but without moving. Jack would have fired, but I checked him. `Back
to the thicket,' I said, `and keep back the dogs!'

We began to retreat, but before we were again under cover, the dogs joined us; and, in spite of our shouts and
efforts to restrain them, they dashed forwards, and seized a buffalo calf.

This was a signal to the whole herd to attack us. They bellowed loudly, pawed the ground, and tore it up with
their horns, and then dashed madly towards us. We had not time to step behind a rock before the leader was
upon us. So close was he that my gun was useless. I drew a pistol and fired. He fell dead at my feet.

His fall checked the advance of the rest. They halted, snuffed the air, turned tail and galloped off across the
plain. They were gone, but the dogs still held gallantly to the calf. They dragged and tussled with him, but with
their utmost efforts could not bring him to the ground.

How to assist them without shooting the poor beast, I knew not; and this I was unwilling to do, for I hoped that,
if we could but capture him alive, we might in time manage to tame him, and use him as a beast of burden.
Jack's clever little head, however, suddenly devised a plan for their aid, and with his usual promptitude he at
once put it into execution.
He unwound the lasso, which was coiled round his body, and, as the young bull flung up his heels, he cast it and
caught him by his hind legs. The noose drew tight, and in a twinkling the beast was upon the ground. We
fastened the other end of the cord round a stout bamboo, called off the dogs, and the animal was at our mercy.

`Now we have got him,' said Jack, as he looked at the poor beast, lying panting on the ground, `what are we to
do with him?'

`I will show you,' said I; `help me to fasten his forelegs together, and you shall see the next operation.'

The bull, thus secured, could not move; and while Jack held his head I drew my knife and pierced the cartilage
of his nose, and when the blood flowed less freely, passed a stout cord through the hole. I felt some repugnance
at thus paining the animal, but it was a case of necessity, and I could not hesitate. We united the ends of the
cord, freed the animal, set him upon his legs, and subdued and overawed, he followed us without resistance.

I now turned my attention to the dead buffalo, but as I could not then skin it, I contented myself with cutting off
the most delicate parts, its tongue, and a couple of steaks, and, packing them in salt in my wallet, abandoned the
rest to the dogs. They fell upon it greedily, and we retired under the shade to enjoy a meal after our hard work.

The dogs, however, were not to have undisputed possession of the carcase; vultures, crows and other birds of
prey, with that marvellous instinct which always leads them to a dead body, quickly filled the air, and, with
discordant cries, swooped down upon the buffalo. An amusing contest ensued; the dogs again and again drove
off the intruders, and they, as often, returned reinforced by others who swarmed to the spot. Jack, with his usual
impetuosity, wished to send a shot in amongst the robber band, but I prevented him, for I knew that the bird or
two he might kill would be of no use to us, while his shot would not drive away the rest, even had we wished it.

Both we and the dogs were at length satisfied, and as it was getting late, I determined to give up for the present
the search for the ass, and to return to our camp.

We again made our way through the bamboos, but before we left the thicket, I cut down one of the smallest of
the reeds, the largest of whose joints would form capital little barrels, while those near the tapering top would
serve as moulds for our next batch of candles.

The buffalo, with a dog on either side and the rope through his nose, was following us passively, and we
presently induced him to submit to a package of our goods laid upon his back. We pushed rapidly forward, Jack
eager to display our latest acquisition.

As we repassed the rocky bed of a stream we had crossed in the morning, Juno dashed ahead, and was about to
rush into a cleft between the rocks, when the appearance of a large jackal suddenly checked her further
progress. Both dogs instantly flew at the animal, and though she fought desperately, quickly overpowered and
throttled her. From the way the beast had shown fight, I concluded that her young must be close by, probably
within the very cleft Juno was about to enter.

Directly Jack heard this, he wished to creep in and bring out the young jackals. I hesitated to allow him to do so,
for I thought it possible that the male jackal might be still lying in wait within the cave. We peered into the
darkness, and after a while, Jack declared he could discern the little yellow jackals, and that he was quite sure
the old one was not there.

He then crept in, followed closely by the dogs, and presently emerged bearing in his arms a handsome cub of a
beautiful golden yellow and about the size of a small cat. He was the only one of the brood he had managed to
save, for Turk and Juno, without pity for their youth or beauty, had worried all the rest. I did not much regret
this, however, for I firmly believe that, had he saved them, Jack would have insisted upon bringing up the whole
litter. As it was I considered that one jackal was, with our young bull, quite sufficient an addition to our

During the halt we had made, I had fastened the buffalo to a small tree, and as I now was again about to move
on, I recognized it as the dwarf-palm, whose long sharp leaves form an excellent barrier if it is planted as a
hedge. I determined to return and get some young plants to strengthen our hedge at Tentholm. It was late before
we reached our camp, where we found our family anxiously awaiting our return.

The sight of the new animals delighted the children immensely, and in their opinion amply compensated for the
loss of our poor donkey. Jack had to answer a host of questions concerning their capture, and to give a minute
account of the affray with the buffaloes. This he did, with graphic power certainly, but with so much boasting
and self-glorification, that I was obliged to check him, and give a plain and unvarnished account of the affair.

Supper-time arrived, and as we sat at that meal, for which Jack and I were heartily thankful, my wife and her
party proceeded to give an account of their day's work.

Ernest had discovered a sago-palm, and had, after much labour, contrived to fell it. Franz and his mother had
collected dry wood, of which a huge heap now stood before the tent sufficient to keep up a fire all the rest of the
time we should stay on the spot.

Fritz had gone off shooting and had secured a good bag. While they had been thus variously employed, a troop
of apes had visited the tent, and when they returned, they found the place ransacked and turned upside down.
The provisions were eaten and gnawed, the potatoes thrown about, the milk drunk and spilt, every box had been
peeped into, every pot and pan had been divested of its lid, the palisade round the hut had been partly destroyed,
nothing had been left untouched.

Industriously had the boys worked to repair the damage, and when we returned not a sign was to be seen of the
disorder. No one would have guessed what had occurred from the delicious supper we were eating.

After matters had been again arranged, Fritz had gone down to the shore and, amongst the rocks at Cape
Disappointment, had discovered a young eaglet which Ernest declared to be a Malabar or Indian eagle; he was
much pleased with his discovery, and I recommended him to bring the bird up and try to train it to hunt as a

`Look here though, boys,' said I, `you are now collecting a good many pets, and I am not going to have your
mother troubled with the care of them all; each must look after his own, and if I find one neglected, whether
beast or bird, I set it at liberty. Mark that and remember it!'

My wife looked greatly relieved at this announcement, and the boys promised to obey my directions. Before we
retired for the night I prepared the buffalo-meat I had brought; I lit a large fire of green wood, and in the smoke
of this thoroughly dried both the tongue and steaks. We then properly secured all the animals, Jack took his
little pet in his arms, and we lay down and were soon fast asleep.

At daybreak we were on foot, and began to prepare for a return to Falconhurst.

`You are not going to despise my sago, I hope,' said Ernest, `you have no idea what a trouble it was to cut it
down, and I have been thinking too that if we could but split the tree, we might make a couple of long useful
troughs which might, I think, be made to carry water from Jackal River to Tentholm. Is my plan worth

`Indeed it is,' I replied, `and at all events we must not abandon such a valuable prize as a sago-palm. I would put
off our departure for a day, rather than leave it behind.'
We went to the palm, and with the tools we had with us attempted to split the trunk. We first sawed off the
upper end, and then with an axe and saw managed to insert a wedge. This accomplished, our task was less
difficult, for with a heavy mallet we forced the wedge in further and further, until at length the trunk was split in
twain. From one half of the trunk we then removed the pith, disengaging it, with difficulty, from the tough
wood fibres; at each end, however, I left a portion of the pith untouched, thus forming a trough in which to work
the sago.

`Now, boys,' said I, when we had removed the pith from the other half of the trunk, `off with your coats and
turn up your shirt-sleeves; I am going to teach you to knead.'

They were all delighted, and even little Franz begged to be allowed to help. Ernest brought a couple of pitchers
of water, and throwing it in amongst the pith, we set to work right heartily. As the dough was formed and
properly kneaded, I handed it to my wife who spread it out on a cloth in the sun to dry. This new occupation
kept us busy until the evening, and when it was at length completed we loaded the cart with the sago, a store of
cocoanuts and our other possessions, that we might be ready to start early on the following morning.

As the sun rose above the horizon, we packed up our tent and set forth, a goodly caravan. I thought it unfair to
the cow to make her drag such a load as we now had alone, and determined if possible to make the young
buffalo take the place of our lost donkey; after some persuasion he consented, and soon put his strength to the
work and brought the cart along famously. As we had the trough slung under the cart we had to choose the
clearest possible route, avoiding anything like a thicket; we, therefore, could not pass directly by the
candleberry and caoutchouc trees, and I sent Ernest and Jack aside to visit the store we had made on our
outward journey.

They had not long been gone when I was alarmed by a most terrible noise accompanied by the furious barking
of the dog and shouts from Jack and Ernest. Thinking that the boys had been attacked by some wild beast, I ran
to their assistance.

A most ludicrous scene awaited me when I reached the spot. They were dancing and shouting round and round
a grassy glade, and I as nearly as possible followed their example, for in the centre, surrounded by a promising
litter, lay our old sow, whose squeals, previously so alarming, were now subsiding into comfortable grunts of

I did not join my boys in their triumphal dance, but I was nevertheless very much pleased at the sight of the
flourishing family, and immediately returned to the cart to obtain biscuits and potatoes for the benefit of the
happy mother. Jack and Ernest meanwhile pushed further on, and brought back the sack of candleberries and
the caoutchouc, and as we could not then take the sow with us, we left her alone with her family and proceeded
to Falconhurst.

The animals were delighted to see us back again, and received us with manifestations of joy, but looked askance
at the new pets.

The eagle especially came in for shy glances, and promised to be no favourite. Fritz, however, determined that
his pet should at present do no harm, secured him by the leg to a root of the fig-tree and uncovered his eyes. In a
moment the aspect of the bird was changed; with his sight returned all his savage instincts, he flapped his
wings, raised his head, darted to the full length of his chain, and before anyone could prevent him seized the
unfortunate parrot which stood near, and tore it to pieces. Fritz's anger rose at the sight, and he was about to
put an end to the savage bird.

`Stop,' said Ernest, `don't kill the poor creature, he is but following his natural instincts; give him to me, and I
will tame him.'
Fritz hesitated. `No, no,' he said, `I don't want really to kill the bird, but I can't give him up; tell me how to tame
him, and you shall have Master Knips.'

`Very well,' replied Ernest, `I will tell you my plan, and, if it succeeds, I will accept Knips as a mark of your
gratitude. Take a pipe and tobacco, and send the smoke all round his head, so that he must inhale it; by degrees
he will become stupefied, and his savage nature from that moment subdued.'

Fritz was rather inclined to ridicule the plan, but knowing that Ernest generally had a good reason for anything
of the sort that he proposed, he consented to make the attempt. He soon seated himself beneath the bird, who
still struggled furiously, and puffed cloud after cloud upwards, and as each cloud circled round the eagle's head
he became quieter and quieter, until he sat quite still, gazing stupidly at the young smoker.

`Capital!' cried Fritz, as he hooded the bird, `capital, Ernest; Knips is yours.'
                                                  Chapter 8

Next morning the boys and I started with the cart laden with our bundles of bamboos to attend to the avenue of
fruit trees. The buffalo we left behind, for his services were not needed, and I wished the wound in his nostrils
to become completely cicatrized before I again put him to work.

We were not a moment too soon; many of the young trees which before threatened to fall had now fulfilled their
promise, and were lying prostrate on the ground, others were bent, some few only remained erect. We raised the
trees, and digging deeply at their roots, drove in stout bamboo props, to which we lashed them firmly with
strong broad fibres.

`Papa,' said Franz, as we were thus engaged, and he handed me the fibres as I required them, `are these wild or
tame trees?'

`Oh, these are wild trees, most ferocious trees,' laughed Jack, `and we are tying them up lest they should run
away, and in a little while we will untie them and they will trot about after us and give us fruit wherever we go.
Oh, we will tame them; they shall have a ring through their noses like the buffalo!'

`That's not true,' replied Franz, gravely, `but there are wild and tame trees, the wild ones grow out in the woods
like the crab-apples, and the tame ones in the garden like the pears and peaches at home. Which are these,

`They are not wild,' I replied, `but grafted or cultivated or, as you call them, tame trees. No European tree bears
good fruit until it is grafted!' I saw a puzzled look come over the little boy's face as he heard this new word, and
I hastened to explain it.

`Grafting,' I continued, `is the process of inserting a slip or twig of a tree into what is called an eye; that is, a
knot or hole in the branch of another. This twig or slip then grows and produces, not such fruit as the original
stock would have borne, but such as the tree from which it was taken would have produced. Thus, if we have a
sour crab tree, and an apple tree bearing fine ribston pippins, we would take a slip of the latter, insert it in an eye
of the former, and in a year or two the branch which it would then grow would be laden with good apples.'

`But,' asked Ernest, `where did the slips of good fruit come from, if none grow without grafting?'

`From foreign countries,' I replied. `It is only in the cold climate of our part of the world that they require this
grafting; in many parts of the world, in more southern latitudes than ours, the most luscious fruit trees are
indigenous to the soil, and flourish and bear sweet, wholesome fruit, without the slightest care of attention being
bestowed upon them; while in England and Germany, and even in France, these same trees require the utmost
exertion of horticultural skills to make them bring forth any fruit whatever.

`Thus, when the Romans invaded England they found nothing in the way of fruit trees but the crab-apple, nut
bushes, and bramble bushes, but by grafting on these, fine apples, filberts, and raspberries were produced, and it
was the same in our own dear Switzerland--all our fruit trees were imported.'

`Were cherries, father? May we not even call cherries Swiss? I always thought they grew nowhere else.'

`I am afraid we cannot even claim cherries as our own, not even the name of them; they are called cherries from
Cerasus, a state of Pontus, in Asia, whence they were brought to Europe by Lucullus, a Roman general, about
seventy years before Christ.
`Hazelnuts also come from Pontus; walnuts, again, came originally from Persia. As for grapes, they are of the
greatest antiquity. We hear, if you remember, of Noah cultivating vines, and they have been brought from one
place to another until they now are to be found in most parts of the civilized world.'

`Do you think all these trees will grow?' asked Fritz, as we crossed Jackal River and entered our plantation at
Tentholm. `Here are lemons, pomegranates, pistachio nuts, and mulberries.'

`I have little doubt of it,' I replied, `we are evidently within the tropics, where such trees as these are sure to

`These pines, now, come from France, Spain, and Italy; the olives from Armenia and Palestine; the figs
originally from the island of Chios; the preaches and apricots from Persia; plums from Damascus in Syria, and
the pears of all sorts from Greece.

`However, if our countries have not been blessed in the same way with fruit, we have been given wisdom and
skill, which has enabled us to import and cultivate the trees of other lands.'

We thus talked and worked until every tree that required the treatment was provided with a stout bamboo prop,
and then, with appetites which a gourmand might well have envied, we returned to Falconhurst.

I think my good wife was almost alarmed at the way we fell upon the corned beef and palm-cabbage she set
before us, but at length these good things produced the desired effect, and one after another declared himself
satisfied. As we sat reclining after our labour and digesting our dinner we discussed the various projects we had
in contemplation.

`I wish,' said my wife, `that you would invent some other plan for climbing to the nest above us; I think that the
nest itself is perfect, I really wish for nothing better, but I should like to be able to get to it without scaling that
dreadful ladder every time; could you not make a flight of steps to reach it?'

I carefully thought over the project, and turned over every plan for its accomplishment.

`It would be impossible, I am afraid,' said I, `to make stairs outside, but within the trunk it might be done. More
than once have I thought that this trunk might be hollow or partly so, and if such be the case our task would be
comparatively easy. Did you not tell me the other day that you noticed bees coming from a hole in the tree?'

`Oh, yes,' said little Franz, `and I went to look at them and one flew right against my face and stung me, and I
almost cried, but I didn't.'

`Brave little boy,' said I. `Well, now, if the trunk be sufficiently hollow to contain a swarm of bees, it may be for
all we can tell hollow the greater part of its length, for like the willow in our own country it might draw all its
nourishment through the bark, and in spite of its real unsoundness retain a flourishing appearance.'

Master Jack, practical as usual, instantly sprang to his feet to put my conjecture to the proof. The rest followed
his example, and they were all soon climbing about like squirrels peeping into the hole, and tapping the wood to
discover by sound how far down the cavity extended.

They forgot, in their eagerness, who were the tenants of this interesting trunk. They were soon reminded of it,
however, for the bees, disturbed by this unusual noise, with an angry buzz burst out and in an instant attacked
the causers of the annoyance; they swarmed round them, stung them on the hands, face, and neck, settled in
their hair, and pursued them as they ran to me for assistance.
It was with difficulty that we got rid of the angry insects, and were able to attend to the boys. Jack, who had
been the first to reach the hole, had fared the worst and was soon a most pitiable sight, his face swelled to an
extraordinary degree, and it was only by the constant application of cold earth that the pain was alleviated. They
were all eager to commence an organized attack upon the bees at once, but for an hour or more by reason of
their pain they were unable to render me much assistance.

In the meanwhile I made my arrangements. I first took a large calabash gourd, for I intended to make a beehive,
that, when we had driven the insects from their present abode, we might not lose them entirely. The lower half
of the gourd I flattened, I then cut an arched opening in the front for a doorway, made a straw roof as
protection from the rain and heat, and the little house was complete.

Nothing more however could then be done, for the irritated bees were still angrily buzzing round the tree. I
waited till dark, and then when all the bees had again returned to their trunk, with Fritz's assistance I carefully
stopped up every hole in the tree with wet clay, that the bees might not issue forth next morning before we
could begin operations.

Very early were we up and at work. I first took a hollow cane, and inserted one end through the clay into the
tree; down this tube with pipe and tobacco I smoked most furiously.

The humming and buzzing that went on within was tremendous; the bees evidently could not understand what
was going to happen. I finished my first pipeful, and putting my thumb over the end of the cane, I gave the pipe
to Fritz to refill. He did so and I again smoked. The buzzing was now becoming less noisy, and was subsiding
into a mere murmur. By the time I had finished this second pipe all was still; the bees were stupefied.

`Now then, Fritz,' said I, `quick with a hammer and chisel, and stand here beside me.'

He was up in a moment, and, together, we cut a small door by the side of the hole; this door however, we did
not take out, but we left it attached by one corner that it might be removed at a moment's notice, then giving the
bees a final dose of tobacco smoke, we opened it.

Carefully but rapidly we removed the insects, as they clung in clusters to the sides of the tree, and placed them
in the hive prepared for their reception. As rapidly I then took every atom of wax and honey from their
storehouse, and put it in a cask I had made ready for the purpose.

The bees were now safely removed from the trunk, but I could not tell whether, when they revived from their
temporary stupor, they might not refuse to occupy the house with which I had presented them, and insist
on returning to their old quarters. To prevent the possibility of this occurrence I took a quantity of tobacco, and,
placing it upon a board nailed horizontally within the trunk, I lighted it and allowed it to burn slowly that the
fumes might fill the cavity.

It was well I did so, for, as the bees returned to consciousness, they left their pretty hive and buzzed away to the
trunk of the tree. They seemed astonished at finding this uninhabitable, and an immense deal of noisy humming
ensued. Round and round they flew, backwards and forwards between the gourd and tree, now settling here and
now there, until, at length, after due consideration, they took possession of the hive and abandoned their former
habitation to us the invaders of their territory. By the evening they were quite quiet, and we ventured to open the
cask in which we had stored our plunder.

We first separated the honey from the honeycomb and poured it off into jars and pots; the rest we then took and
threw into a vessel of water placed over a slow fire. It soon boiled and the entire mass became fluid. This we
placed in a clean canvas bag, and subjected to a heavy pressure. The honey was thus soon forced out, and we
stored it in a cask, and, though not perhaps quite equal to the former batch in quality, it was yet capital. The wax
that remained in the bag I also carefully stored, for I knew it would be of great use to me in the manufacture of
candles. Then after a hard day's work we turned in.

The internal architecture of the tree had now to be attended to, and early the following morning we prepared for
the labourious task. A door had first to be made, so at the base of the trunk we cut away the bark and formed an
opening just the size of the door we had brought from the captain's cabin, and which, hinges and all, was ready
to be hung.

The clearing of the rotten wood from the centre of the trunk occupied us some time, but at length we had the
satisfaction of seeing it entirely accomplished, and, as we stood below, we could look up the trunk, which was
like a great smooth funnel, and see the sky above.

It was now ready for the staircase, and first we erected in the centre a stout sapling to form an axis round which
to build the spiral stairs; in this we cut notches to receive the steps, and corresponding notches in the tree itself
to support the outer ends. The steps themselves we formed carefully and neatly of planks from the wreck, and
clenched them firmly in their places with stout nails.

Upwards and upwards we built, cutting windows in the trunk as we required, to admit light and air, until we
were flush with the top of the centre pole. On this pole we erected another to reach the top of the tree, and
securing it firmly, built in the same way round it until we at length reached the level of the floor of the nest

To make the ascent of the stairs perfectly easy we ran a hand-rail on either side, one round the centre pillar, and
the other following the curve of the trunk.

This task occupied us a whole month, and by the end of that period, so accustomed had we become to having a
definite piece of work before us that we began to consider what other great alteration we should undertake.

We were, however, of course not neglecting the details of our colonial establishment. There were all the animals
to be attended to; the goats and sheep had both presented us with additions to our flock, and these frisky
youngsters had to be seen after; to prevent them straying to any great distance, for we had no wish to lose them,
we tied round their necks little bells, which we had found on board the wreck, and which would assist us to
track them.

Juno, too, had a fine litter of puppies, but, in spite of the entreaties of the children, I could not consent to keep
more than two, and the rest disappeared in that mysterious way in which puppies and kittens are wont to leave
the earth. To console the mother, as he said, but also, I suspect, to save himself considerable trouble, Jack
placed his little jackal beside the remaining puppies, and, to his joy, found it readily adopted.

The other pets were also flourishing, and were being usefully trained. The buffalo, after giving us much trouble,
had now become perfectly domesticated, and was a very useful beast of burden, besides being a capital steed for
the boys. They guided him by a bar thrust through the hole in his nose, which was now perfectly healed, and
this served the purpose just as a bit in the mouth of a horse. I began his education by securing round him a broad
girth of buffalo-hide and fastening to it various articles, to accustom him to carrying a burden. By degrees he
permitted this to be done without making the slightest resistance, and soon carried the panniers, before borne by
the ass, readily and willingly.

I then made Master Knips sit upon his back and hold the reins I had prepared for him, that the animal might
become accustomed to the feeling of a rider, and finally allowed Fritz himself to mount.
The education of the eagle was not neglected. Fritz every day shot small birds for his food, and these he placed
sometimes between the wide-spreading horns of the buffalo or goat, and sometimes upon the
back of the great bustard, that he might become accustomed to pounce upon living prey.
These lessons had their due effect, and the bird, having been taught to obey the voice and whistle of his master,
was soon allowed to bring down small birds upon the wing, when he stooped and struck his quarry in most
sportsmanlike manner. We kept him well away from the poultry-yard lest his natural instincts should show
themselves, and he should put an untimely end to some of our feathered pets.

Neither was Master Knips allowed to remain idle, for Ernest, now that he was in his possession, wished to train
him to be of some use. With Jack's help he made a little basket of rushes, which he so arranged with straps that
it might be easily fitted on to the monkey's back. Thus equipped he was taught to mount cocoanut palms and
other lofty trees, and to bring down their fruit in the hamper.

Jack was not so successful in his educational attempts. Fangs, as he had christened his jackal, used his fangs
indeed, but only on his own account; nothing could persuade him that the animals he caught were not at once to
be devoured, consequently poor Jack was never able to save from his jaws anything but the tattered skin of his
prey. Not disheartened, however, he determined that Fangs could be trained, and that he would train him.

These, and suchlike employments, afforded us the rest and recreation we required while engaged in the
labourious task of staircase building.

Among my minor occupations, I applied myself to the improvement of our candles. Though the former batch
had greatly delighted us at first, yet we were soon obliged to acknowledge that the light they gave was
imperfect, and their appearance was unsightly; my wife, too, begged me to find some substitute for the threads
of our cotton neck-ties, which I had previously used as wicks.

To give the proper shape and smoothness to the candles, I determined to use the bamboo moulds I had prepared.
My first idea was to pour the wax in at the end of the mould, and then when the candles were cooled to slip
them out; but I was soon convinced that this plan would not succeed.

I therefore determined to divide the moulds lengthways, and then, having greased them well, we might pour the
melted wax into the two halves bound tightly together, and so be able to take out the candles when cool without
injuring them.

The wicks were my next difficulty, and as my wife positively refused to allow us to devote our ties and
handkerchiefs for the purpose, I took a piece of inflammable wood from a tree, a native of the Antilles, which
I thought would serve our purpose; this I cut into long slips, and fixed in the centres of the moulds. My wife,
too, prepared some wicks from the fibres of the karata tree, which she declared would beat mine completely out
of the field.

We put them to the proof. On a large fire we placed a pot, in which we prepared our wax mixture--half bees'
wax and half wax from the candleberries. The moulds carefully prepared--half with karata fibre, and half with
wooden splint wicks--stood on their ends in a tub of cold water, ready to receive the wax.

They were filled; the wax cooled; the candles taken out and subjected to the criticism of all hands. When night
drew on, they were formally tested. The decision was unanimous: neither gave such a good light as those with
the cotton wicks; but even my wife declared that the light from mine was far preferable to that emitted by hers,
for the former, though rather flaring, burned brilliantly, while the latter gave out such a feeble and flickering
flame that it was almost useless.

I then turned shoemaker, for I had promised myself a pair of waterproof boots, and now determined to make
Taking a pair of socks, I filled them with sand, and then coated them over with a thin layer of clay to form a
convenient mould; this was soon hardened in the sun, and was ready for use. Layer after layer of caoutchouc I
brushed over it, allowing each layer to dry before the next was put on, until at length I considered that the shoes
were of sufficient thickness. I dried them, broke out the clay, secured with nails a strip of buffalo-hide to the
soles, brushed that over with caoutchouc, and I had a pair of comfortable, durable, respectable-looking
waterproof boots.

I was delighted; orders poured in from all sides, and soon everyone in the family was likewise provided for.

One objection to Falconhurst was the absence of any spring close by, so that the boys were obliged to bring
water daily from the stream; and this involving no little trouble, it was proposed that we should carry the water
by pipes from the stream to our present residence. A dam had to be thrown across the river some way up stream,
that the water might be raised to a sufficient height to run to Falconhurst. From the reservoir thus made we led
the water down by pipes into the turtle's shell, which we placed near our dwelling, and from which the
superfluous water flowed off through the hole made in it by Fritz's harpoon.

This was an immense convenience, and we formally inaugurated the trough by washing therein a whole sack of
potatoes. Thus day after day brought its own work, and day after day saw that work completed. We had no time
to be idle, or to lament our separation from our fellow creatures.

One morning, as we were completing our spiral staircase, and giving it such finish as we were capable of, we
were suddenly alarmed by hearing a most terrific noise, the roaring or bellowing of a wild beast; so strange a
sound was it, that I could not imagine by what animal it was uttered.

Jack thought it perhaps a lion, Fritz hazarded a gorilla, while Ernest gave it as his opinion, and I thought it
possible that he was right, that it was a hyaena.

`Whatever it is,' said I, `we must prepare to receive it; up with you all to the nest while I secure the door.'

Then arming the dogs with their collars, I sent them out to protect the animals below, closed the door, and
joined my family.

Every gun was loaded, every eye was upon the watch. The sound drew nearer, and then all was still; nothing
was to be seen. I determined to descend and reconnoitre, and Fritz and I carefully crept down; with our guns at
full cock we glided amongst the trees; noiselessly and quickly we pushed on further and further; suddenly, close
by, we heard the terrific sound again. Fritz raised his gun, but almost as quickly again dropped it, and burst into
a hearty fit of laughter.

There was no mistaking those dulcet tones--hee-haw, hee-haw, hee-haw, resounded through the forest, and our
ass braying his approach right merrily appeared in sight. To our surprise, however, our friend was not alone:
behind him trotted another animal, an ass no doubt, but slim and graceful as a horse. We watched their
movements anxiously.

`Fritz,' I whispered, `that is an onager. Creep back to Falconhurst and bring me a piece of cord--quietly now!'

While he was gone, I cut a bamboo and split it halfway down to form a pair of pincers, which I knew would be
of use to me should I get near the animal. Fritz soon returned with the cord, and I was glad to observe also
brought some oats and salt. We made one end of the cord fast to a tree, and at the other end made a running
noose. Silently we watched the animals as they approached, quietly browsing; Fritz then rose, holding in one
hand the noose, and in the other some oats and salt.
The ass, seeing his favourite food thus held out, advanced to take it; Fritz allowed him to do so, and he was
soon munching contentedly. The stranger, on seeing Fritz, started back; but finding her companion show no
signs of alarm, was reassured, and soon approached sniffing, and was about to take some of the tempting food.

In a moment the noose left Fritz's adroit hand and fell round her neck; with a single bound she sprang
backwards the full length of the cord, the noose drew tight, and she fell to the earth half strangled. I at once ran
up, loosened the rope and replaced it by a halter; and placing the pincers upon her nose, secured her by two
cords fastened between two trees, and then left her to recover herself.

Everyone hastened up to examine the beautiful animal as she rose from the ground and cast fiery glances
around. She lashed out with her heels on every side; and, giving vent to angry snorts, struggled violently to
get free. All her endeavours were vain: the cords were stout, and after a while she quieted down and stood
exhausted and quivering.

I then approached: she suffered me to lead her to the roots of our tree, which for the present formed our stables,
and there I tied her up close to the donkey, who was likewise prevented from playing truant.

Next morning I found the onager after her night's rest as wild as ever, and as I looked at the handsome creature I
almost despaired of ever taming her proud spirit. Every expedient was tried, and at length, when the animal was
subdued by hunger, I thought I might venture to mount her; and having given her the strongest curb and
shackled her feet, I attempted to do so. She was as unruly as ever, and as a last expedient I resolved to adopt a
plan which, though cruel, was I knew attended with wonderful success by the American Indians, by whom it is

Watching a favourable opportunity, I sprang upon the onager's back, and seizing her long ear in my teeth, in
spite of her kicking and plunging, bit it through. The result was marvellous, the animal ceased plunging, and,
quivering violently, stood stock-still.

From that moment we were her masters, the children mounted her one after the other, and she carried them
obediently and quietly. Proud, indeed, did I feel as I watched this animal, which naturalists and travellers have
declared to be beyond the power of man to tame, guided hither and thither by my youngest son.

Additions to our poultry yard reminded me of the necessity of providing some substantial shelter for our
animals before the rainy season came on; three broods of chickens had been successfully hatched, and the little
creatures, forty in all, were my wife's pride and delight.

We began by making a roof over the vaulted roots of our tree, forming the framework of bamboo canes which
we laid close together and bound tightly down; others we fixed below as supports. The interstices were filled up
with clay and moss; and coating the whole over with a mixture of tar and lime-water, we obtained a firm
balcony, and a capital roof impervious to the severest fall of rain. I ran a light rail round the balcony to give it a
more ornamental appearance, and below divided the building into several compartments. Stables, poultry yard,
hay and provision lofts, dairy, kitchen, larder and dining-hall were united under one roof.

Our winter-quarters were now completed, and we had but to store them with food. Day after day we worked,
bringing in provisions of every description.

As we were one evening returning from gathering potatoes, it struck me that we should take in a store of acorns;
and sending the two younger boys home with their mother and the cart, I took a large canvas bag, and with Fritz
and Ernest, the former mounted on his onager, and the latter carrying his little favourite, Knips, made a detour
towards the Acorn Wood.
We reached the spot, tied Lightfoot to a neighbouring tree, and began rapidly to fill the sack. As we were thus
engaged, Knips sprang suddenly into a bush close by, from which, a moment afterwards, issued such strange
cries that Ernest followed to see what could be the matter.

`Come!' he shouted, `Come and help me! I've got a couple of birds and their eggs. Quick! Ruffed grouse!'

We hurried to the spot. There was Ernest with a fluttering, screaming bird in either hand; while, with his foot,
he was endeavouring to prevent his greedy little monkey from seizing the eggs. We quickly tied the legs of the
birds, and removing the eggs from the nest, placed them in Ernest's hat; while he gathered some of the long,
broad grass, with which the nest was woven, and which grew luxuriantly around, for Franz to play at sword-
drill with.

We then loaded the onager with the acorns and moved homewards. The eggs I covered carefully with dry moss,
that they might be kept warm, and as soon as possible I handed them over to my wife who managed the mother
so cleverly that she induced her to return to the eggs, and in a few days, to our great delight, we had fifteen
beautiful little Canadian chicks.

Franz was greatly pleased with the 'swords' his brother brought him; but having no small companion on whom
to exercise his valour, he amused himself for a short time in hewing down imaginary foes, and then cut the
reeds in slips, and plaited them to form a whip for Lightfoot.

The leaves seemed so pliable and strong, that I examined them to see to what further use they might be put.
Their tissue was composed of long silky fibres. A sudden thought struck me--this must be New Zealand flax. I
could not rest till I had announced this invaluable discovery to my wife. She was no less delighted than I was.

`Bring me the leaves!' she exclaimed. `Oh, what a delightful discovery! No one shall now be clothed in rags;
just make me a spindle, and you shall soon have shirts and stockings and trousers, all good homespun! Quick,
Fritz, and bring your mother more leaves!'

We could not help smiling at her eager zeal; but Fritz and Ernest sprang on their steeds, and soon the onager and
buffalo were galloping home again, each laden with a great bundle of flax. The boys dismounted and deposited
their offering at their mother's feet.

`Capital!' she exclaimed. `I shall now show you that I am not at all behindhand in ingenuity. This must be
retted, carded, spun and woven, and then with scissors, needle and thread I will make you any article of clothing
you choose.'

We decided that Flamingo Marsh would be the best spot for the operation of steeping or `retting' the flax, and
next morning we set out thither; the cart drawn by the ass, and laden with the bundles, between which sat Franz
and Knips, while the rest of us followed with spades and hatchets.

I described to my boys as we went along the process of retting, and explained to them how steeping the flax
leaves destroys the useless membrane, while the strong fibres remain.

As we were employed in making beds for the flax and placing it in them, we observed several nests of the
flamingo. These are most curiously and skilfully made of glutinous clay, so strong that they can neither be
overturned nor washed away. They are formed in the shape of blunted cones, and placed point downwards; at
the upper and broader end is built a little platform to contain the eggs, on which the female bird sits, with her
long legs in the water on either side, until the little birds are hatched and can take to the water.

For a fortnight we left the flax to steep, and then taking it out and drying it thoroughly in the sun, stored it for
future use at Falconhurst.
Daily did we load our cart with provisions to be brought to our winter-quarters: manioc, potatoes, cocoanuts,
sweet acorns, sugar-canes, were all collected and stored in abundance--for grumbling thunder, lowering skies,
and sharp showers warned us that we had no time to lose. Our corn was sowed, our animals housed, our
provisions stored, when down came the rain.

To continue in our nest we found impossible, and we were obliged to retreat to the trunk, where we carried such
of our domestic furniture as might have been injured by the damp. Our dwelling was indeed crowded: the
animals and provisions below, and our beds and household goods around us, hemmed us in on every side; by
degrees, by dint of patience and better packing, we obtained sufficient room to work and lie down in; by
degrees, too, we became accustomed to the continual noise of the animals and the smell of the stables.

The smoke from the fire, which we were occasionally obliged to light, was not agreeable; but in time even that
seemed to become more bearable.

To make more space, we turned such animals as we had captured, and who therefore might be imagined to
know how to shift for themselves, outside during the daytime, bringing them under the arched roots only at
night. To perform this duty Fritz and I used to sally forth every evening, and as regularly every evening did we
return soaked to the skin.

To obviate this, my wife, who feared these continual wettings might injure our health, contrived waterproofs:
she brushed on several layers of caoutchouc over stout shirts, to which she attached hoods; she then fixed to
these duck trousers, and thus prepared for each of us a complete waterproof suit, clad in which we might brave
the severest rain.

In spite of our endeavours to keep ourselves busy, the time dragged heavily. Our mornings were occupied in
tending the animals; the boys amused themselves with their pets, and assisted me in the manufacture of carding-
combs and a spindle for their mother. The combs I made with nails, which I placed head downwards on a sheet
of tin about an inch wide; holding the nails in their proper positions I poured solder round their heads to fix
them to the tin, which I then folded down on either side of them to keep them perfectly firm.

In the evening, when our room was illuminated with wax candles, I wrote a journal of all the events which had
occurred since our arrival in this foreign land; and, while my wife was busy with her needle and Ernest making
sketches of birds, beasts and flowers with which he had met during the past months, Fritz and Jack taught little
Franz to read.

Week after week rolled by. Week after week saw us still close prisoners. Incessant rain battered down above us,
constant gloom hung over the desolate scene.
                                                 Chapter 9

The winds at length were lulled, the sun shot his brilliant rays through the riven clouds, the rain ceased to fall--
spring had come. No prisoners set at liberty could have felt more joy than we did as we stepped forth from our
winter abode, refreshed our eyes with the pleasant verdure around us, and our ears with the merry songs of a
thousand happy birds, and drank in the pure balmy air of spring.

Our plantations were thriving vigorously. The seed we had sown was shooting through the moist earth. All
nature was refreshed.

Our nest was our first care: filled with leaves and broken and torn by the wind, it looked indeed dilapidated. We
worked hard, and in a few days it was again habitable. My wife begged that I would now start her with the flax,
and as early as possible I built a drying-oven, and then prepared it for her use; I also, after some trouble,
manufactured a beetle-reel and spinning-wheel, and she and Franz were soon hard at work, the little boy reeling
off the thread his mother spun.

I was anxious to visit Tentholm, for I feared that much of our precious stores might have suffered. Fritz and I
made an excursion thither. The damage done to Falconhurst was as nothing compared to the scene that awaited
us. The tent was blown to the ground, the canvas torn to rags, the provisions soaked, and two casks of powder
utterly destroyed. We immediately spread such things as we hoped yet to preserve in the sun to dry.

The pinnace was safe, but our faithful tub-boat was dashed in pieces, and the irreparable damage we had
sustained made me resolve to contrive some safer and more stable winter-quarters before the arrival of the
next rainy season. Fritz proposed that we should hollow out a cave in the rock, and though the difficulties such
an undertaking would present appeared almost insurmountable, I yet determined to make the attempt; we might
not, I thought, hew out a cavern of sufficient size to serve as a room, but we might at least make a cellar for the
more valuable and perishable of our stores.

Some days afterwards we left Falconhurst with the cart laden with a cargo of spades, hammers, chisels,
pickaxes and crowbars, and began our undertaking. On the smooth face of the perpendicular rock I drew out in
chalk the size of the proposed entrance, and then, with minds bent on success, we battered away.

Six days of hard and incessant toil made but little impression; I do not think that the hole would have been a
satisfactory shelter for even Master Knips; but we still did not despair, and were presently rewarded by coming
to softer and more yielding substance; our work progressed, and our minds were relieved.

On the tenth day, as our persevering blows were falling heavily, Jack, who was working diligently with a
hammer and crowbar, shouted:

`Gone, father! Fritz, my bar has gone through the mountain!'

`Run round and get it,' laughed Fritz, `perhaps it has dropped into Europe--you must not lose a good crowbar.'

`But, really, it is through; it went right through the rock; I heard it crash down inside. Oh, do come and see!' he
shouted excitedly.

We sprang to his side, and I thrust the handle of my hammer into the hole he spoke of; it met with no pposition,
I could turn it in any direction I chose. Fritz handed me a long pole; I tried the depth with that. Nothing could I
feel. A thin wall, then, was all that intervened between us and a great cavern.
With a shout of joy, the boys battered vigorously at the rock; piece by piece fell, and soon the hole was large
enough for us to enter. I stepped near the aperture, and was about to make a further examination, when a sudden
rush of poisonous air turned me giddy, and shouting to my sons to stand off, I leaned against the rock.

When I came to myself I explained to them the danger of approaching any cavern or other place where the air
has for a long time been stagnant. `Unless air is incessantly renewed it becomes vitiated,' I said, `and fatal to
those who breathe it. The safest way of restoring it to its original state is to subject it to the action of fire; a few
handfuls of blazing hay thrown into this hole may, if the place be small, sufficiently purify the air within to
allow us to enter without danger.' We tried the experiment. The flame was extinguished the instant it entered.
Though bundles of blazing grass were thrown in, no difference was made.

I saw that we must apply some more efficacious remedy, and sent the boys for a chest of signal-rockets we had
brought from the wreck. We let fly some dozens of these fiery serpents, which went whizzing in and
disappeared at apparently a vast distance from us. Some flew like radiant meteors round, lighted up the mighty
circumference and displayed, as by a magician's wand, a sparkling glittering roof. They looked like avenging
dragons driving a foul malignant fiend out of a beauteous palace.

We waited for a little while after these experiments, and I then again threw in lighted hay. It burned clearly; the
air was purified.

Fritz and I enlarged the opening, while Jack, springing on his buffalo, thundered away to Falconhurst to bear the
great and astonishing news to his mother.

Great must have been the effect of Jack's eloquence on those at home, for the timbers of the bridge were soon
again resounding under the swift but heavy tramp of his steed; and he was quickly followed by the rest of our
party in the cart.

All were in the highest state of excitement. Jack had stowed in the cart all the candles he could find, and we
now, lighting these, shouldered our arms and entered. I led the way, sounding the ground as I advanced with a
long pole, that we might not fall unexpectedly into any great hole or chasm.

Silently we marched--my wife, the boys, and even the dogs seeming overawed with the grandeur and beauty of
the scene We were in a grotto of diamonds--a vast cave of glittering crystal; the candles reflected on the walls a
golden light, bright as the stars of Heaven, while great crystal pillars rose from the floor like mighty trees,
mingling their branches high above us and drooping in hundreds of stalactites, which sparkled and glittered with
all the colours of the rainbow.

The floor of this magnificent palace was formed of hard, dry sand, so dry that I saw at once that we might safely
take up our abode therein, without the slightest fear of danger from damp.

From the appearance of the brilliant crystals round about us, I suspected their nature. I tasted a piece. This was a
cavern of rock-salt. There was no doubt about it--here was an unlimited supply of the best and purest salt!

But one thing detracted from my entire satisfaction and delight--large crystals lay scattered here and there,
which, detached from the roof, had fallen to the ground; this, if apt to recur, would keep us in constant peril. I
examined some of the masses and discovered that they had been all recently separated, and therefore concluded
that the concussion of the air, occasioned by the rockets, had caused their fall. To satisfy ourselves, however,
that there were no more pieces tottering above us, we discharged our guns from the entrance, and watched the
Nothing more fell--our magnificent abode was safe. We returned to Falconhurst with minds full of wonder at
our new discovery, and plans for turning it to the best possible advantage.

Nothing was now talked of but the new house, how it should be arranged, how it should be fitted up. The safety
and comfort of Falconhurst, which had at first seemed so great, now dwindled away in our opinion to nothing; it
should be kept up we decided merely as a summer residence, while our cave should be formed into a winter
house and impregnable castle.

Our attention was now fully occupied with this new house. Light and air were to be admitted, so we hewed a
row of windows in the rock, where we fitted the window-cases we had brought from the officers' cabins.

We brought the door, too, from Falconhurst, and fitted it in the aperture we had made. The opening in the trunk
of the tree I determined to conceal with bark, as less likely to attract the notice of wild beasts or savages should
they approach during our absence.

The cave itself we divided into four parts: in front, a large compartment into which the door opened, subdivided
into our sitting, eating and sleeping apartments; the right-hand division, containing our kitchen and workshop,
and the left our stables; behind all this, in the dark recess of the cave, was our storehouse and powder-magazine.

Having already undergone one rainy reason, we knew well its discomforts, and thought of many useful
arrangements in the laying-out of our dwelling. We did not intend to be again smoke-dried; we, therefore,
contrived a properly built fireplace and chimney; our stable arrangements, too, were better, and plenty of space
was left in our workshop that we should not be hampered in even the most extensive operations.

Our frequent residence at Tentholm revealed to us several important advantages which we had not foreseen.
Numbers of splendid turtles often came ashore to deposit their eggs in the sand, and their delicious flesh
afforded us many a sumptuous meal. When more than one of these creatures appeared at a time, we used to cut
off their retreat to the sea, and, turning them on their backs, fasten them to a stake, driven in close by the water's
edge, by a cord passed through a hole in their shell. We thus had fresh turtle continually within our reach; for
the animals throve well thus secured, and appeared in as good condition, after having been kept thus for several
weeks, as others when freshly caught. Lobsters, crabs and mussels also abounded on the shore. But this was not
all; an additional surprise awaited us.

As we were one morning approaching Tentholm, we were attracted by a most curious phenomenon. The waters
out to sea appeared agitated by some unseen movement, and as they heaved and boiled, their surface, struck by
the beams of the morning sun, seemed illuminated by flashes of fire.

Over the water where this disturbance was taking place hovered hundreds of birds, screaming loudly, which
ever and anon would dart downwards, some plunging beneath the water, some skimming the surface. Then
again they would rise and resume their harsh cries. The shining, sparkling mass then rolled onwards, and
approached in a direct line our bay, followed by the feathered flock above. We hurried down to the shore to
further examine this strange sight.

I was convinced as we approached that it was a shoal or bank of herrings.

No sooner did I give utterance to my conjecture, than I was assailed by a host of questions concerning this
herring-bank, what it was, and what occasioned it.

`A herring-bank,' I said, `is composed of an immense number of herrings swimming together. I can scarcely
express to you the huge size of this living bank, which extends over a great area many fathoms deep. It is
followed by numbers of great ravenous fish, who devour quantities of the herrings, while above hover birds, as
you have just seen, ready to pounce down on stragglers near the top. To escape these enemies, the shoal makes
for the nearest shore, and seeks safety in those shallows where the large fish cannot follow. But here it meets
with a third great enemy.

`It may escape from the fish, and elude the vigilance of sharp-sighted birds, but from the ingenuity of man it can
find no escape. In one year millions of these fish are caught, and yet the roes of only a small number would be
sufficient to supply as many fish again.'

Soon our fishery was in operation. Jack and Fritz stood in the water with baskets, and baled out the fish, as one
bales water with a bucket, throwing them to us on the shore. As quickly as possible we cleaned them, and
placed them in casks with salt, first a layer of salt, and then a layer of herrings, and so on, until we had ready
many casks of pickled fish.

As the barrels were filled, we closed them carefully, and rolled them away to the cool vaults at the back of our
cave. Our good fortune, however, was not to end here. A day after the herring fishery was over, and the shoal
had left our bay, a great number of seals appeared, attracted by the refuse of the herrings which we had thrown
into the sea.

Though I feared they would not be suitable for our table, we yet secured a score or two for the sake of their
skins and fat. The skins we drew carefully off for harness and clothing, and the fat we boiled down for oil,
which we put aside in casks for tanning, soap-making, and burning in lamps.

These occupations interfered for some time with our work at Rock House; but as soon as possible we again
returned to our labour with renewed vigour. I had noticed that the salt crystals had for their base a species of
gypsum, which I knew might be made of great service to us in our building operations as plaster.

As an experiment, I broke off some pieces, and, after subjecting them to great heat, reduced them to powder.
The plaster this formed with water was smooth and white, and as I had then no particular use to which I might
put it, I plastered over some of the herring casks, that I might be perfectly certain that all air was excluded. The
remainder of the casks I left as they were, for I presently intended to preserve their contents by smoking.

To do this, the boys and I built a small hut of reeds and branches, and then we strung our herrings on lines
across the roof. On the floor we lit a great fire of brushwood and moss, which threw out a dense smoke, curling
in volumes round the fish, and they in a few days seemed perfectly cured.

About a month after the appearance of the herrings we were favoured by a visit from other shoals of fish. Jack
espied them first, and called to us that a lot of young whales were off the coast. We ran down and discovered
the bay apparently swarming with great sturgeon, salmon, and trout, all making for the mouth of Jackal River,
that they might ascend it and deposit their spawn amongst the stones.

Jack was delighted at his discovery. `Here are proper fish!' he exclaimed, `none of your paltry fry. How do you
preserve these sorts of fish? Potted, salted or smoked?'

`Not so fast,' said I, `not so fast; tell me how they are to be caught, and I will tell you how they are to be

`Oh! I'll catch them fast enough,' he replied, and darted off to Rock House.

While I was still puzzling my brains as to how I should set to work, he returned with his fishing apparatus in
hand: a bow and arrow, and a ball of twine.

At the arrow-head he had fastened a barbed spike, and had secured the arrow to the end of the string. Armed
with this weapon, he advanced to the river's edge.
His arrow flew from the bow, and, to my surprise, struck one of the largest fish in the side.

`Help, father, help!' he cried, as the great fish darted off, carrying arrow and all with it. `Help! Or he will pull
me into the water.'

I ran to his assistance, and together we struggled with the finny monster. He pulled tremendously, and lashed
the water around him; but we held the cord fast, and he had no chance of escape. Weaker and weaker grew his
struggles, and, at length, exhausted by his exertions and loss of blood, he allowed us to draw him ashore.

He was a noble prize, and Fritz and Ernest, who came up just as we completed his capture, were quite envious
of Jack's success.

Not to be behindhand, they eagerly rushed off for weapons themselves. We were soon all in the water, Fritz
with a harpoon, Ernest with a rod and line, and I myself, armed like Neptune, with an iron trident, or more
properly speaking, perhaps, a pitchfork. Soon the shore was strewn with a goodly number of the finest fish--
monster after monster we drew to land. At length Fritz, after harpooning a great sturgeon full eight feet long,
could not get the beast ashore; we all went to his assistance, but our united efforts were unavailing.

`The buffalo!' proposed my wife, and off went Jack for Storm. Storm was harnessed to the harpoon rope, and
soon the monstrous fish lay panting on the sand. We at length, when we had captured as many fish as we could
possibly utilize, set about cleaning and preparing their flesh. Some we salted, some we dried like the herrings,
some we treated like the tunny of the Mediterranean--we prepared them in oil.

Of the roe of the sturgeon I decided to form caviare, the great Russian dish. I removed from it all the
membranes by which it is surrounded, washed it in vinegar, salted it, pressed out all the moisture caused by the
water-absorbing properties of the salt, packed it in small barrels and stowed it away in our storehouse.

I knew that of the sturgeon's bladder the best isinglass is made, so carefully collecting the air-bladders from all
those we had killed, I washed them and hung them up to stiffen. The outer coat or membrane I then peeled off,
cutting the remainder into strips, technically called staples.

These staples I place in an iron pot over the fire, and when they had been reduced to a proper consistency I
strained off the glue through a clean cloth, and spread it out on a slab of stone in thin layers, letting them remain
until they were dry. The substance I thus obtained was beautifully transparent, and promised to serve as an
excellent substitute for glass in our window-frames.

Fortunately, in this beautiful climate little or no attention was necessary to the kitchen garden, the seeds sprang
up and flourished without apparently the slightest regard for the time or season of the year. Peas, beans, wheat,
barley, rye and Indian corn, seemed constantly ripe, while cucumbers, melons, and all sorts of other vegetables
grew luxuriantly. The success of our garden at Tentholm encouraged me to hope that my experiment at
alconhurst had not failed, and one morning we started to visit the spot.

As we passed by the field from which the potatoes had been dug, we found it covered with barley, wheat, rye
and peas in profusion. I turned to my wife in amazement. `Where has this fine crop sprung from?' said I.

`From the earth,' she replied, laughing, `where Franz and I sowed the seed I brought from the wreck. The
ground was ready tilled by you and the boys; all we had to do was to scatter the seed.'

I was delighted at the sight, and it augured well, I thought, for the success of my maize plantation. We hurried
to the field. The crop had indeed grown well, and what was more, appeared to be duly appreciated. A
tremendous flock of feathered thieves rose as we approached. Amongst them Fritz espied a few ruffed grouse,
and, quick as thought, unhooding his eagle, he started him off in chase, then sprang on his onager and
followed at full gallop. His noble bird marked out the finest grouse, and, soaring high above it, stooped and bore
his prey to the ground.

Fritz was close at hand, and springing through the bushes he saved the bird from death, hooded the eagle's eyes,
and returned triumphantly. Jack had not stood idle, for slipping his pet Fangs, he had started him among some
quails who remained upon the field, and to my surprise the jackal secured some dozen of the birds, bringing
them faithfully to his master's feet.

We then turned our steps towards Falconhurst, where we were refreshed by a most delicious drink my wife
prepared for us; the stems of the young Indian corn crushed, strained, and mixed with water and the juice
of the sugar-cane.

We then made preparations for an excursion the following day, for I wished to establish a sort of semicivilized
farm at some distance from Falconhurst, where we might place some of our animals which had become too
numerous with our limited means to supply them with food. In the large cart, to which we harnessed the buffalo,
cow, and ass, we placed a dozen fowls, four young pigs, two couple of sheep, and as many goats, and a pair of
hens and one cock grouse. Fritz led the way on his onager, and by a new track we forced a passage through the
woods and tall grasses towards Cape Disappointment.

The difficult march was at length over, and we emerged from the forest upon a large plain covered with curious
little bushes; the branches of these little shrubs and the ground about them were covered with pure white flakes.

`Snow! Snow!' exclaimed Franz. `Oh, mother, come down from the cart and play snowballs. This is jolly; much
better than the ugly rain.'

I was not surprised at the boy's mistake, for indeed the flakes did look like snow; but before I could express my
opinion, Fritz declared that the plant must be a kind of dwarf cotton-tree. We approached nearer and found he
was right--soft fine wool enclosed in pods, and still hanging on the bushes or lying on the ground, abounded in
every direction. We had indeed discovered this valuable plant. My wife was charmed; and gathering a great
quantity in three capacious bags, we resumed our journey.

Crossing the cotton-field, we ascended a pretty wooded hill. The view from the summit was glorious: luxuriant
grass at our feet stretching down the hillside, dotted here and there with shady trees, among which gushed down
a sparkling brook, while below lay the rich green forest, with the sea beyond.

What better situation could we hope to find for our new farm? Pasture, water, shade and shelter, all were here.

We pitched our tent, built our fireplace, and, leaving my wife to prepare our repast, Fritz and I selected a spot
for the erection of our shed. We soon found a group of trees so situated that the trunks would serve as posts for
our intended building. Thither we carried all our tools, and then, as the day was far advanced, enjoyed our
supper, and lay down upon most comfortable beds which my wife had prepared for us with the cotton.

The group of trees we had selected was exactly suited to our purpose, for it formed a regular rectilinear figure,
the greatest side of which faced the sea. I cut deep mortices in the trunks about ten feet from the ground, and
again ten feet higher up to form a second storey. In these mortices I inserted beams, thus forming a framework
for my building, and then, making a roof of laths, I overlaid it with bark, which I stripped from a neighbouring
tree, and fixed with acacia thorns, and which would effectually shoot off any amount of rain.

While clearing up the scraps of bark and other rubbish for fuel for our fire, I noticed a peculiar smell, and
stooping down I picked up pieces of the bark, some of which, to my great surprise, I found was that of the
terebinth tree, and the rest that of the American fir. The goats, too, made an important discovery amongst the
same heap, for we found them busily routing out pieces of cinnamon, a most delicious and aromatic spice.

`From the fir,' said I to the boys, `we get turpentine and tar, and thus it is that the fir tree becomes such a
valuable article of commerce. So we may look forward to preparing pitch for our yacht with tar and oil, you
know, and cart-grease, too, with tar and fat. I do not know that you will equally appreciate the terebinth tree; a
gum issues from incisions in the bark which hardens in the sun, and becomes as transparent as amber; when
burned it gives forth a most delicious perfume, and when dissolved in spirits of wine, forms a beautiful
transparent varnish.'

The completion of our new farm-house occupied us several days; we wove strong lianas and other creepers
together to form the walls to the height of about six feet; the rest, up to the roof, we formed merely of a
latticework of laths to admit both air and light. Within we divided the house into three parts; one subdivided
into stalls for the animals; a second fitted with perches for the birds, and a third, simply furnished with a rough
table and benches, to serve as a sleeping-apartment for ourselves, when we should find it necessary to pay the
place a visit. In a short time the dwelling was most comfortably arranged, and as we daily filled the feeding-
troughs with the food the animals best liked, they showed no inclination to desert the spot we had chosen for

Yet, hard as we had worked, we found that the provisions we had brought with us would be exhausted before
we could hope to be able to leave the farm. I therefore dispatched Jack and Fritz for fresh supplies.

During their absence, Ernest and I made a short excursion in the neighbourhood, that we might know more
exactly the character of the country near our farm.

Passing over a brook which flowed towards the wall of rocks, we reached a large marsh, and as we walked
round it, I noticed with delight that it was covered with the rice plant growing wild in the greatest profusion.
Here and there only were there any ripe plants, and from these rose a number of ruffed grouse, at which both
Ernest and I let fly. Two fell, and Fangs, who was with us, brought them to our feet.

As we advanced, Knips skipped from the back of his steed Juno and began to regale himself on some fruit, at a
short distance off; we followed the little animal and found him devouring delicious strawberries. Having
enjoyed the fruit ourselves, we filled the hamper Knips always carried, and secured the fruit from his pilfering
paws with leaves fixed firmly down.

I then took a sample of the rice seeds to show my wife, and we continued our journey.

Presently we reached the borders of the pretty lake which we had seen beyond the swamp. The nearer aspect of
its calm blue waters greatly charmed us, and still more so, the sight of numbers of black swans, disporting
themselves on the glassy surface, in which their stately forms and graceful movements were reflected as in a
mirror. It was delightful to watch these splendid birds, old and young swimming together in the peaceful
enjoyment of life, seeking their food, and pursuing one another playfully in the water.

I could not think of breaking in upon their happy beautiful existence by firing among them, but our dog Juno
was by no means so considerate; for all at once I heard a plunge, and saw her drag out of the water a most
peculiar-looking creature, something like a small otter, but not above twenty-two inches in length, which she
would have torn to pieces, had we not hurried up and taken it from her.

This curious little animal was of a soft dark brown colour, the fur being of a lighter shade under the belly; its
feet were furnished with large claws, and also completely webbed, the head small, with deeply set eyes and
ears, and terminating in a broad flat bill like that of a duck.
This singularity seemed to us so droll that we both laughed heartily, feeling at the same time much puzzled to
know what sort of animal it could possibly be. For want of a better, we gave it the name of the `Beast with a
Bill', and Ernest willingly undertook to carry it, that it might be stuffed and kept as a curiosity.

After this we returned to the farm, thinking our messengers might soon arrive, and sure enough, in about a
quarter of an hour, Fritz and Jack made their appearance at a brisk trot, and gave a circumstantial account of
their mission.

I was pleased to see that they had fulfilled their orders intelligently, carrying out my intentions in the spirit and
not blindly to the letter.

Next morning we quitted the farm (which we named Woodlands), after providing amply for the wants of the
animals, sheep, goats and poultry, which we left there.

Shortly afterwards, on entering a wood, we found it tenanted by an enormous number of apes, who instantly
assailed us with showers of fir-cones, uttering hideous and angry cries, and effectually checking our progress,
until we put them to flight by a couple of shots, which not a little astonished their weak minds.

Fritz picked up some of their missiles, and, showing them to me, I recognized the cone of the stone-pine.

`By all means gather some of these cones, boys,' said I; `you will find the kernel has a pleasant taste, like
almonds, and from it we can, by pressing, obtain an excellent oil. Therefore I should like to carry some home
with us.'

A hill, which seemed to promise a good view from its summit, next attracted my notice, and, on climbing it we
were more than repaid for the exertion by the extensive and beautiful prospect which lay spread before our eyes.

The situation altogether was so agreeable, that here also I resolved to make a settlement, to be visited
accasionally, and, after resting awhile and talking the matter over we set to work to build a cottage such as we
had lately finished at Woodlands.

Our experience there enabled us to proceed quickly with the work, and in a few days the rustic abode was
completed, and received, by Ernest's choice, the grand name of Prospect Hill.

My chief object in undertaking this expedition had been to discover some tree from whose bark I could hope to
make a useful light boat or canoe. Hitherto I had met with none at all fit for my purpose, but, not despairing of
success, I began, when the cottage was built, to examine carefully the surrounding woods, and, after
considerable trouble, came upon two magnificent tall straight trees, the bark of which seemed something like
that of the birch.

Selecting one whose trunk was, to a great height, free from branches, we attached to one of the lower of these
boughs the rope ladder we had with us, and, Fritz ascending it, cut the bark through in a circle; I did the same at
the foot of the tree, and then, from between the circles, we took a narrow perpendicular slip of bark entirely out,
so that we could introduce the proper tools by which gradually to loosen and raise the main part, so as finally to
separate it from the tree uninjured and entire. This we found possible, because the bark was moist and flexible.

Great care and exertion were necessary, as the bark became detached, to support it, until the whole was ready to
be let gently down upon the grass. This seemed a great achievement; but our work was by no means ended, nor
could we venture to desist from it, until, while the material was soft and pliable, we had formed it into the shape
we desired for the canoe.
In order to do this, I cut a long triangular piece out of each end of the roll, and, placing the sloping parts one
over the other, I drew the ends into a pointed form and secured them with pegs and glue.

This successful proceeding had, however, widened the boat, and made it too flat in the middle, so that it was
necessary to put ropes round it, and tighten them until the proper shape was restored, before we could allow it to
dry in the sun.

This being all I could do without a greater variety of tools, I determined to complete my work in a more
convenient situation, and forthwith dispatched Fritz and Jack with orders to bring the sledge (which now ran on
wheels taken from gun-carriages) that the canoe might be transported direct to the vicinity of the harbour at

During their absence I fortunately found some wood naturally curved, just suited for ribs to support and
strengthen the sides of the boat.

When the two lads returned with the sledge, it was time to rest for the night; but with early dawn we were again
busily at work.

The sledge was loaded with the new boat, and everything else we could pack into it, and we turned our steps
homewards, finding the greatest difficulty, however, in getting our vehicle through the woods. We crossed the
bamboo swamp, where I cut a fine mast for my boat, and came at length to a small opening or defile in the ridge
of rocks, where a little torrent rushed from its source down into the larger stream beyond; here we determined to
make a halt, in order to erect a great earth wall across the narrow gorge, which, being thickly planted with
prickly pear, Indian-fig, and every thorny bush we could find, would in time form an effectual barrier against
the intrusion of wild beasts, the cliffs being, to the best of our belief, in every other part inaccessible.

For our own convenience we retained a small winding path through this barrier, concealing and defending it
with piles of branches and thorns, and also we contrived a light drawbridge over the stream, so that we rendered
the pass altogether a very strong positron, should we ever have to act on the defensive.

This work occupied two days, and continuing on our way, we were glad to rest at Falconhurst before arriving
(quite tired and worn out) at Tentholm.

It took some time to recruit our strength after this long and fatiguing expedition, and then we vigorously
resumed the task of finishing the canoe. The arrangements, I flattered myself, were carried out in a manner quite
worthy of a shipbuilder; a mast, sails and paddles were fitted, but my final touch, although I prized it highly and
considered it a grand and original idea, would no doubt have excited only ridicule and contempt had it been
seen by a naval man.

My contrivance was this: I had a couple of large air-tight bags, made of the skins of the dog-fish, well tarred
and pitched, inflated, and made fast on each side of the boat, just above the level of the water. These floats,
however much she might be loaded, would effectually prevent either the sinking or capsizing of my craft.

I may as well relate in this place what I omitted at the time of its occurrence. During the rainy season our cow
presented us with a bull-calf, and that there might never be any difficulty in managing him, I at a very early age,
pierced his nose and placed a short stick in it, to be exchanged for a ring when he was old enough. The question
now came to be, who should be his master, and to what should we train him?

`Why not teach him,' said Fritz, `to fight with wild animals and defend us, like the fighting bulls of the
Hottentots? That would be really useful!'
`I am sure I should much prefer a gentle bull to a fighting one!' exclaimed his mother. `But do you mean to say
tame oxen can be taught to act rationally on the defensive?'

`I can but repeat what I have heard or read,' replied I, `as regards the race of Hottentots who inhabit the south of
Africa, among all sorts of wild and ferocious animals.

`The wealth of these people consists solely in their flocks and herds, and for their protection, they train their
bulls to act as guards.

`These courageous animals keep the rest from straying away, and when danger threatens, they give instant
notice of it, drive the herd together in a mass, the calves and young cows being placed in the centre; around
them the bulls and strong oxen make a formidable circle with their horned heads turned to the front, offering
determined resistance to the fiercest foe.

`These fighting bulls will even sometimes rush with dreadful bellowing to meet the enemy; and should it be a
mighty lion or other strong and daring monster, sacrifice their own lives in defence of the herd.

`It is said that formerly, when Hottentot tribes made war on one another, it was not unusual to place a troop of
these stout-hearted warriors in the van of the little army, when their heroism led to decisive victory on one side
or the other.

`But,' continued, I, `although I can see you are all delighted with my description of these fine warlike animals, I
think we had better train this youngster to be a peaceable bull. Who is to have charge of him?'

Ernest thought it would be more amusing to train his monkey than a calf. Jack, with the buffalo and his hunting
jackal, had quite enough on his hands. Fritz was content with the onager. Their mother was voted mistress of the
old grey donkey. And I myself being superintendent-in-chief of the whole establishment of animals, there
remained only little Franz to whose special care the calf could be committed.

`What say you, my boy--will you undertake to look after this little fellow?'

`Oh yes, father!' he replied. `Once you told me about a strong man, I think his name was Milo, and he had a tiny
calf, and he used to carry it about everywhere. It grew bigger and bigger, but still he carried it often, till at last
he grew so strong that when it was quite a great big ox, he could lift it as easily as ever. And so you see, if I take
care of our wee calf and teach it to do what I like, perhaps when it grows big I shall still be able to manage it,
and then--oh, papa--do you think I might ride upon it?'

I smiled at the child's simplicity, and his funny application of the story of Milo of Crotona.

`The calf shall be yours, my boy. Make him as tame as you can, and we will see about letting you mount him
some day; but remember he will be a great bull long before you are nearly a man. Now what will you call him?'

`Shall I call him "Grumble", father? Hear what a low muttering noise he makes!'

`"Grumble" will do famously.'

`Grumble, Grumble. Oh, it beats your buffalo's name hollow, Jack!'

`Not a bit,' said he, `why, you can't compare the two names. Fancy mother saying, "Here comes Franz on
Grumble, but Jack riding on the Storm." Oh, it sounds sublime!'

We named the two puppies Bruno and Fawn, and so ended this important domestic business.
For two months we worked steadily at our salt-cave, in order to complete the necessary arrangement of partition
walls, so as to put the rooms and stalls for the animals in comfortable order for the next long rainy season,
during which time, when other work would be at a standstill, we could carry on many minor details for the
improvement of the abode.

We levelled the floors first with clay; then spread gravel mixed with melted gypsum over that, producing a
smooth hard surface, which did very well for most of the apartments; but I was ambitious of having one
or two carpets, and set about making a kind of felt in the following way.

I spread out a large piece of sailcloth, and covered it equally all over with a strong liquid, made of glue and
isinglass, which saturated it thoroughly. On it we then laid wool and hair from the sheep and goats, which had
been carefully cleaned and prepared, and rolled and beat it until it adhered tolerably smoothly to the cloth.
Finally it became, when perfectly dry, a covering for the floor of our sitting-room by no means to be despised.

One morning, just after these labours at the salt-cave were completed, happening to awake unusually early, I
turned my thoughts, as I lay waiting for sunrise, to considering what length of time we had now passed on this
coast, and discovered, to my surprise, that the very next day would be the anniversary of our escape from the
wreck. My heart swelled with gratitude to the gracious God, who had then granted us deliverance, and ever
since had loaded us with benefits; and I resolved to set tomorrow apart as a day of thanksgiving, in joyful
celebration of the occasion.

My mind was full of indefinite plans when I rose, and the day's work began as usual. I took care that everything
should be cleaned, cleared and set in order both outside and inside our dwelling: none, however, suspecting that
there was any particular object in view. Other more private preparations I also made for the next day. At supper
I made the coming event known to the assembled family.

`Good people! do you know that tomorrow is a very great and important day? We shall have to keep it in
honour of our merciful escape to this land, and call it Thanksgiving-Day.'

Everyone was surprised to hear that we had already been twelve months in the country--indeed, my wife
believed I might be mistaken, until I showed her how I had calculated regularly ever since the 31st of
January, on which day we were wrecked, by marking off in my almanac the Sundays as they arrived for the
remaining eleven months of that year.

`Since then,' I added, `I have counted thirty-one days. This is the 1st of February. We landed on the 2nd;
therefore tomorrow is the anniversary of the day of our escape. As my bookseller has not sent me an almanac
for the present year, we must henceforth reckon for ourselves.'

`Oh, that will be good fun for us,' said Ernest. `We must have a long stick, like Robinson Crusoe, and cut a
notch in it every day, and count them up every now and then, to see how the weeks and months and years go

`That is all very well, if you know for certain the number of days in each month, and in the year. What do you
say, Ernest?'

`The year contains 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds,' returned he promptly.

`Perfectly correct!' said I, smiling, `but you would get in a mess with those spare hours, minutes, and seconds in
a year or two, wouldn't you?'
`Not at all! Every four years I would add them all together, make a day, stick it into February, and call that year
leap year.'

`Well done, Professor Ernest! We must elect you astronomer royal in this our kingdom, and let you superintend
and regulate everything connected with the lapse of time, clocks and watches included.'

Before they went to sleep, I could hear my boys whispering among themselves, about `father's mysterious
allusions' to next day's festival and rejoicings; but I offered no explanation, and went to sleep, little guessing
that the rogues had laid a counter-plot, far more surprising than my simple plan for their diversion.

Nothing less than a roar of artillery startled me from sleep at daybreak next morning. I sprang up and found my
wife as much alarmed as I was by the noise, otherwise I should have been inclined to believe it fancy.

`Fritz! Dress quickly and come with me!' cried I, turning to his hammock. Lo, it was empty! Neither he nor Jack
were to be seen.

Altogether bewildered, I was hastily dressing, when their voices were heard, and they rushed in shouting:

`Hurrah! Didn't we rouse you with a right good thundering salute?'

But perceiving at a glance that we had been seriously alarmed, Fritz hastened to apologize for the thoughtless
way in which they had sought to do honour to the Day of Thanksgiving, without considering that an unexpected
cannon-shot would startle us unpleasantly from our slumbers.

We readily forgave the authors of our alarm, in consideration of the good intention which had prompted the
deed, and, satisfied that the day had at least been duly inaugurated, we all went quietly to breakfast. Afterwards
we sat together for a long time, enjoying the calm beauty of the morning, and talking of all that had taken place
on the memorable days of the storm a year ago; for I desired that the awful events of that time should live in the
remembrance of my children with a deepening sense of gratitude of our deliverance.

Therefore I read aloud passages from my journal, as well as many beautiful verses from the Psalms, expressive
of joyful praise and thanksgiving, so that even the youngest among us was impressed and solemnized at the
recollections of escape from a terrible death, and also led to bless and praise the name of the Lord our Deliverer.

Dinner followed shortly after this happy service, and I then announced for the afternoon a `Grand Display of
Athletic Sports', in which I and my wife were to be spectators and judges.

`Father, what a grand idea!'

`Oh, how jolly! Are we to run races?'

`And prizes! Will there be prizes, father?'

`The judges offer prizes for competition in every sort of manly exercise,' replied I. `Shooting, running, riding,
leaping, climbing, swimming, we will have an exhibition of your skill in all. Now for it!

`Trumpeters! Sound for the opening of the lists.'

Uttering these last words in a stentorian voice and wildly waving my arms towards a shady spot, where the
ducks and geese were quietly resting, had the absurd effect I intended.
Up they all started in a fright, gabbling and quacking loudly, to the infinite amusement of the children, who
began to bustle about in eager preparations for the contest, and begging to know with what they were to begin.

`Let us have shooting first, and the rest when the heat of the day declines. Here is a mark I have got ready for
you,' said I, producing a board roughly shaped like a kangaroo, and of about the size of one. This target was
admired, but Jack could not rest satisfied till he had added ears, and a long leather strap for a tail.

It was then fixed in the attitude most characteristic of the creature, and the distance for firing measured off.
Each of the three competitors was to fire twice.

Fritz hit the kangaroo's head each time; Ernest hit the body once; and Jack, by a lucky chance, shot the ears
clean away from the head, which feat raised a shout of laughter.

A second trial with pistols ensued, in which Fritz again came off victor.

Then desiring the competitors to load with small shot, I threw a little board as high as I possibly could up in the
air, each in turn aiming at and endeavouring to hit it before it touched the ground.

In this I found to my surprise that the sedate Ernest succeeded quite as well as his more impetuous brother Fritz.

As for Jack, his flying board escaped wholly uninjured. After this followed archery, which I liked to encourage,
foreseeing that a time might come when ammunition would fail; and in this practise I saw with pleasure that my
elder sons were really skilful, while even little Franz acquitted himself well.

A pause ensued, and then I started a running match. Fritz, Ernest and Jack were to run to Falconhurst, by the
most direct path. The first to reach the tree was to bring me, in proof of his success, a penknife I had
accidentally left on the table in my sleeping-room.

At a given signal, away went the racers in fine style. Fritz and Jack, putting forth all their powers, took the lead
at once, running in advance of Ernest, who started at a good steady pace, which I predicted he would be better
able to maintain than such a furious rate as his brothers.

But long before we expected to see them back, a tremendous noise of galloping caused us to look with surprise
towards the bridge, and Jack made his appearance, thundering along on his buffalo, with the onager and the
donkey tearing after him riderless, and the whole party in the wildest spirits.

`Hollo!' cried I. `What sort of foot-race do you call this, Master Jack?'

He shouted merrily as he dashed up to us; then flinging himself off, and saluting us in a playful way:

`I very soon saw,' said he, `that I hadn't a chance; so renouncing all idea of the prize, I caught Storm, and made
him gallop home with me, to be in time to see the others come puffing in. Lightfoot and old Grizzle chose to
join me--I never invited them!'

By and by the other boys arrived, Ernest holding up the knife in token of being the winner; and after hearing all
particulars about the running, and that he had reached Falconhurst two minutes before Fritz, we proceeded to
test the climbing powers of the youthful athletes.

In this exercise Jack performed wonders. He ascended with remarkable agility the highest palms whose stems
he could clasp.

And when he put on the shark-skin buskins, which enabled him to take firm hold of larger trees, he played
a ntics like a squirrel or a monkey: peeping and grinning at us, at first on one side of the stem, and then on the
other, in a most diverting way.

Fritz and Ernest climbed well, but could not come near the grace and skill of their active and lively young

Riding followed, and marvellous feats were performed, Fritz and Jack proving themselves very equal in their
management of their different steeds. I thought the riding was over, when little Franz appeared from the stable
in the cave, leading young Grumble the bull-calf, with a neat saddle of kangaroo hide, and a bridle passed
through his nose ring.

The child saluted us with a pretty little air of confidence, exclaiming:

`Now, most learned judges, prepare to see something quite new and wonderful! The great bull-tamer, Milo of
Crotona, desires the honour of exhibiting before you.'

Then taking a whip, and holding the end of a long cord he made the animal, at the word of command, walk, trot
and gallop in a circle round him. He afterwards mounted, and showed off Grumble's somewhat awkward paces.

The sports were concluded by swimming-matches, and the competitors found a plunge in salt water very
refreshing after their varied exertions.

Fritz showed himself a master in the art. At home in the element, no movement betokened either exertion or
weariness. Ernest exhibited too much anxiety and effort, while Jack was far too violent and hasty, and soon
became exhausted. Franz gave token of future skill.

By this time, as it was getting late, we returned to our dwelling, my wife having preceded us in order to make
arrangements for the ceremony of prize-giving.

We found her seated in great state, with the prizes set out by her side.

The boys marched in, pretending to play various instruments in imitation of a band, and then all four, bowing
respectfully, stood before her, like the victors in a tournament of old, awaiting the reward of valour from the
Queen of Beauty, which she bestowed with a few words of praise and encouragement.

Fritz, to his immense delight, received as the prize for shooting and swimming, a splendid double-barrelled
rifle, and a beautiful hunting-knife.

To Ernest, as winner of the running-match, was given a handsome gold watch.

For climbing and riding, Jack had a pair of silver-plated spurs, and a riding whip, both of which gave him
extraordinary pleasure.

Franz received a pair of stirrups, and a driving whip made of rhinoceros hide, which we thought would be of use
to him in the character of bull-trainer.

When the ceremony was supposed to be over, I advanced, and solemnly presented to my wife a lovely work-
box, filled with every imaginable requirement for a lady's work-table, which she accepted with equal surprise
and delight.

The whole entertainment afforded the boys such intense pleasure, and their spirits rose to such a pitch, that
nothing would serve them but another salvo of artillery in order to close with befitting dignity and honour so
great a day. They gave me no peace till they had leave to squander some gunpowder, and then at last their
excited feelings seeming relieved, we were able to sit down to supper; shortly afterwards we joined in family
worship and retired to rest.

Soon after the great festival of our grand Thanksgiving Day I recollected that it was now the time when, the figs
at Falconhurst being ripe, immense flocks of ortolans and wild pigeons were attracted thither, and as we had
found those preserved last year of the greatest use among our stores of winter provisions, I would not miss the
opportunity of renewing our stock; and therefore, laying aside the building work, we removed with all speed to
our home in the tree, where sure enough we found the first detachment of the birds already busy with the fruit.

In order to spare ammunition, I resolved to concoct a strong sort of bird-lime, of which I had read in some
account of the Palm Islanders, who make it of fresh caoutchouc mixed with oil, and of so good a quality that it
has been known to catch even peacocks and turkeys.

Fritz and Jack were therefore dispatched to collect some fresh caoutchouc from the trees, and as this involved a
good gallop on Storm and Lightfoot, they nothing loth set off.

They took a supply of calabashes, in which to bring the gum, and we found it high time to manufacture a fresh
stock of these useful vessels. I was beginning to propose an expedition to the Gourd-tree wood, regretting the
time it would take to go such a distance, when my wife reminded me of her plantation near the potato-field.

There to our joy we found that all the plants were flourishing, and crops of gourds and pumpkins, in all stages
of ripeness, covered the ground.

Selecting a great number suited to our purpose, we hastened home, and began the manufacture of basins, dishes,
plates, flasks and spoons of all sorts and sizes, with even greater success than before.

When the riders returned with the caoutchouc, they brought several novelties besides.

A crane, for example, shot by Fritz, and an animal which they called a marmot, but which to me seemed much
more like a badger.

Aniseed, turpentine and wax berries for candles, they had also collected, and a curious root which they
introduced by the name of the monkey plant.

`And pray wherefore "monkey plant", may I ask?'

`Well, for this reason, father,' answered Fritz. `We came upon an open space in the forest near Woodlands, and
perceived a troop of monkeys, apparently engaged as Jack said, in cultivating the soil! Being curious to make
out what they were at, we tied up the dogs, as well as Storm and Lightfoot, and crept near enough to see that the
apes were most industriously grubbing up and eating roots. This they did in a way that nearly choked u s with
laughter, for when the root was rather hard to pull up, and the leaves were torn off, they seized it firmly in their
teeth, and flung themselves fairly heels-over-head in the most ludicrous fashion you ever saw, and up came the
root unable to resist the leverage!

`Of course we wanted to see what this dainty morsel was like, so we loosed the dogs, and the apes cleared out
double quick, leaving plenty of the roots about. We tasted them, and thought them very nice. Will you try one?'

The plant was quite new to me, but I imagined it might be what is called in China 'ginseng', and there prized and
valued beyond everything. The children being curious to hear more about this ginseng, I continued:
`In China it is considered so strengthening and wholesome, that it is used as a sort of universal medicine, being
supposed to prolong human life.

`The emperor alone has the right to permit it to be gathered, and guards are placed round land where it grows.

`Ginseng is to be found in Tartary, and has lately been discovered in Canada; it is cultivated in Pennsylvania,
because the Americans introduce it secretly into China as smuggled merchandise.'

Fritz then continued:

`After this we went on to Woodlands; but mercy on us! What a confusion the place was in! Everything smashed
or torn, and covered with mud and dirt; the fowls terrified, the sheep and goats scattered, the contents
of the rooms dashed about as if a whirlwind had swept through the house.'

`What!' I exclaimed, while my wife looked horrified at the news, conjuring up in her imagination hordes of
savages who would soon come and lay waste Falconhurst and Tentholm as well as Woodlands.

`How can that have happened? Did you discover the authors of all this mischief?'

`Oh,' said Jack, `it was easy to see that those dreadful monkeys had done it all. First they must have got into the
yards and sheds, and hunted the fowls and creatures about; and then I daresay the cunning rascals put a little
monkey in at some small opening, and bid him unfasten the shutters--you know what nimble fingers they have.
Then of course the whole posse of them swarmed into our nice tidy cottage and skylarked with every single
thing they could lay paws on, till perhaps they got hungry all at once, and bethought them of the "ginseng", as
you call it, out in the woods yonder, where we found them so busy refreshing themselves, the mischievous

`While we were gazing at all this ruin in a sort of bewilderment,' pursued Fritz, `we heard a sound of rushing
wings and strange ringing cries as of multitudes of birds passing high above us, and looking up we perceived
them flying quickly in a wedge-shaped flock at a great height in the air. They began gradually to descend,
taking the direction of the lake, and separated into a number of small detachments which followed in a long
straight line, and at a slower rate, the movements of the leaders, who appeared to be examining the
neighbourhood. We could now see what large birds they must be, but dared not show ourselves or follow them,
lest they should take alarm.

`Presently, and with one accord, they quickened their motion, just as if the band had begun to play a quick
march after a slow one, and rapidly descended to earth in a variety of lively ways, and near enough for us to see
that they must be cranes.

`Some alighted at once, while others hovered sportively over them. Many darted to the ground, and, just
touching it, would soar again upward with a strong but somewhat heavy flight.

`After gambolling in this way for a time, the whole multitude, as though at the word of command, alighted on
the rice-fields, and began to feast on the fresh grain.

`We thought now was our time to get a shot at the cranes and cautiously approached; but they were too cunning
to let themselves be surprised, and we came unexpectedly upon their outposts or sentinels, who instantly sprang
into the air uttering loud trumpet-like cries, upon which the whole flock arose and followed them with a rush
like a sudden squall of wind.

`We were quite startled, and it was useless to attempt a shot; but unwilling to miss the chance of securing at
least one of the birds, I hastily unhooded my eagle, and threw him into the air.
`With a piercing cry he soared away high above them, then shot downwards like an arrow, causing wild
confusion among the cranes.

`The one which the eagle attacked, sought to defend itself; a struggle followed, and they came together to the
ground not far from where we stood.

`Hastening forward, to my grief I found the beautiful crane already dead. The eagle, luckily unhurt, was
rewarded with a small pigeon from my game-bag.

`After this we went back to Woodlands, got some turpentine and a bag of rice--and set off for home.'

Fritz's interesting story being ended, and supper ready, we made trial of the new roots, and found them very
palatable, either boiled or stewed; the monkey plant, however, if it really proved to be the ginseng of the
Chinese, would require to be used with caution, being of an aromatic and heating nature.

We resolved to transplant a supply of both roots to our kitchen garden.
                                                Chapter 10
On the following morning we were early astir; and as soon as breakfast was over, we went regularly to work
with the bird-lime. The tough, adhesive mixture of caoutchouc oil and turpentine turned out well.

The boys brought rods, which I smeared over, and made them place among the upper branches, where the fruit
was plentiful, and the birds most congregated.

The prodigious number of the pigeons, far beyond those of last year, reminded me that we had not then, as now,
witnessed their arrival at their feeding-places, but had seen only the last body of the season, a mere party of
stragglers, compared to the masses which now weighed down the branches of all the trees in the neighbourhood.

The sweet acorns of the evergreen oaks were also patronized; large flocks were there congregated; and from the
state of the ground under the trees it was evident that at night they roosted on the branches. Seeing this, I
determined to make a raid upon them by torchlight, after the manner of the colonists in Virginia.

Meantime, the bird-lime acted well: the pigeons alighting, stuck fast. The more they fluttered and struggled, the
more completely were they bedaubed with the tenacious mixture, and at length, with piteous cries, fell to the
ground, bearing the sticks with them. The birds were then removed, fresh lime spread, and the snare set again.

The boys quickly became able to carry on the work without my assistance; so, leaving it to them, I went to
prepare torches, with pinewood and turpentine, for the night attack.

Jack presently brought a very pretty pigeon, unlike the rest, to show me, as he felt unwilling to kill it; and seeing
that it must be one of our own European breed, which we wished to preserve until their numbers greatly
increased, I took the trembling captive, and gently cleaned its feet and wings with oil and ashes from the stiff,
sticky mess with which it was bedaubed, placing it then in a wicker cage, and telling Jack to bring me any
others like it which were caught. This he did; and we secured several pairs, greatly to my satisfaction, as having
necessarily let them go free when we landed, they had become quite wild, and we derived no advantage from
them: whereas now we would have a cot, and pigeon-pie whenever we liked.

When evening drew on, we set out for the wood of sweet acorns, provided merely with long bamboo canes,
torches and canvas sacks.

These weapons appeared very curious, and insufficient to the children; but their use was speedily apparent: for
darkness having come upon us almost before we reached the wood, I lighted the torches, and perceived, as I
expected, that every branch was thickly laden with ortolans and wild pigeons, who were roosting there in
amazing numbers.

Suddenly aroused by the glare of light, confusion prevailed among the terrified birds, who fluttered helplessly
through the branches, dazzled and bewildered, and many falling, even before we began to use the sticks, were
picked up, and put in the bags.

When we beat and struck the branches, it was as much as my wife and Franz could do to gather up the
quantities of pigeons that soon lay on the ground. The sacks were speedily quite full. We turned homewards,
and on reaching Falconhurst, put our booty in safety, and gladly withdrew to rest.

The following day was wholly occupied in plucking, boiling, roasting and stewing, so that we could find time
for nothing else; but next morning a great expedition to Woodlands was arranged, that measures might there be
taken to prevent a repetition of the monkey invasion. I hoped, could I but catch the mischievous rascals at their
work of destruction, to inflict upon them such a chastisement as would effectually make them shun the
neighbourhood of our farm for the future.

My wife provided us with a good store of provisions, as we were likely to be absent several days, while she,
with Franz and Turk, remained at home.

I took with me abundance of specially prepared birdlime, far stronger than that which we used for the pigeons; a
number of short posts, plenty of string, and a supply of cocoanut shells and gourds.

The buffalo carried all these things, and one or two of the boys besides. I myself bestrode the ass, and in due
time we arrived at a convenient spot in the forest, near Woodlands, well concealed by thick bushes and
underwood, where we made a little encampment, pitching the small tent and tethering the animals. The dogs,
too, were tied up, lest they should roam about, and betray our presence.

We found the cottage quite quiet and deserted; and I lost no time in preparing for the reception of visitors,
hoping to be all ready for them, and out of sight before they arrived.

We drove the stakes lightly into the ground, so as to form an irregular paling round the house, winding string in
and out in all directions between them, thus making a kind of labyrinth, through which it would be impossible
to pass without touching either the stakes or the cords.

Everything was plentifully besmeared with bird-lime; and basins of the mixture were set in all directions,
strewed with rice, maize, and other dainties for bait.

Night came without any interruption to our proceedings; and all being then accomplished, we retired to rest
beneath the shelter of our little tent.

Very early in the morning we heard a confused noise, such as we knew betokened the approach of a large
number of apes. We armed ourselves with strong clubs and cudgels, and holding the dogs in leash, made our
way silently behind the thickets, till, ourselves unseen, we could command a view of all that went on; and
strange indeed was the scene which ensued!

The noise of rustling, crackling and creaking among the branches, with horrid cries, and shrieks, and chattering,
increased to a degree sufficient to make us perfectly giddy; and then out from the forest poured the whole
disorderly rabble of monkeys, scrambling, springing, leaping from the trees, racing and tumbling across the
grassy space towards the house; when, at once attracted by the novelties they saw, they made for the jars and

They seemed innumerable; but the confused, rapid way in which they swarmed hither and thither, made it
difficult to judge accurately of their numbers. They dashed fearlessly through and over the palings in all
directions, some rushing at the eatables, some scrambling on to the roof, where they commenced tugging at the
wooden pegs, with a view to forcing an entrance.

Gradually, however, as they rambled over the place, all in turn became besmeared with our bird-lime on head,
paws, back or breast. The wretched predicament of the apes increased every instant.

Some sat down, and with the most ludicrous gestures, tried to clean themselves. Others were hopelessly
entangled in stakes and cordage, which they trailed about after them, looking the picture of bewildered despair.

Others, again, endeavoured to help one another, and stuck fast together: the more they pulled, and tugged, and
kicked, the worse became their plight.
Many had the gourds and cocoanut shells lumbering and clattering about with them, their paws having been
caught when they sought to obtain the rice or fruit we had put for bait.

Most ridiculous of all was the condition of one old fellow, who had found a calabash, containing palm wine,
and, eagerly drinking it, was immediately fitted with a mask, for the shell stuck to his forehead and whiskers, of
course covering his eyes; and he blundered about, cutting the wildest capers in his efforts to get rid of the

Numbers took to flight; but, as we had spread bird-lime on several of the trees around, many apes found
themselves fixed to, or hanging from the branches, where they remained in woeful durance, struggling and
shrieking horribly.

The panic being now general, I loosed the three dogs, whose impatience had been almost uncontrollable, and
who now rushed to the attack of the unfortunate monkeys, as though burning with zeal to execute justice upon
desperate criminals.

The place soon had the appearance of a ghastly battlefield; for we were obliged to do our part with the clubs and
sticks, till the din of howling, yelling, barking, in every conceivable tone of rage and pain, gave place to an
awful silence, and we looked with a shudder on the shocking spectacle around us.

At least forty apes lay mangled and dead, and the boys began to be quite sad and downhearted, till I, fully
sharing their feelings, hastened to turn their thoughts to active employment in removing and burying the slain,
burning the stakes, cordage, bowls, everything concerned in the execution of our deadly stratagem.

After that we betook ourselves to the task of restoring order to our dismantled cottage; and seeking for the
scattered flock of sheep, goats, and poultry, we gradually collected them, hoping to settle them once more
peacefully in their yards and sheds.

While thus engaged, we repeatedly heard a sound as of something heavy falling from a tree. On going to look,
we found three splendid birds, caught on some of the limed sticks we had placed loose in the branches.

Two of these proved to be a variety of the Blue Molucca pigeon; the third I assumed to be the Nicobar pigeon,
having met with descriptions of its resplendent green, bronze, and steely-blue plumage; and I was pleased to
think of domesticating them, and establishing them as first tenants of a suitable dwelling near the cave.

`First tenants, father!' said Fritz. `Do you expect to catch more like these?'

`Not exactly catch them; I mean to practise a secret art. Much can be done by magic, Fritz!'

Further explanation I declined to give.

In a few days, Woodlands was once more set in order, and everything settled and comfortable, so that we
returned without further adventure to Falconhurst, where we were joyfully welcomed.

Every one agreed that we must go at once to Tentholm, to make the proposed pigeon-house in the rock. Several
other things there also requiring our attention, we made arrangements for a prolonged stay.

My plan for the pigeon-house was to hollow out an ample space in the cliff, facing towards Jackal river, and
close to our rocky home, fitting that up with partitions, perches and nesting-places; while a large wooden front
was fitted on to the opening, with entrance-holes, slides, or shutters, and a broad platform in front, where the
birds could rest, and walk about.
When, after the work of a few weeks, we thought it was fit for habitation, I set the other children to work at
some distance from our cavern, and summoning Fritz:

`Now, my faithful assistant,' said I, `it is time to conjure the new colonists to their settlement here. Yes,' I
continued, laughing at his puzzled look. `I mean to play a regular pigeon-dealer's trick. You must know such
gentry are very ingenious, not only in keeping their own pigeons safe, but in adding to their numbers by
attracting those of other people. All I want is some soft clay, aniseed and salt, of which I will compound a
mixture, which our birds will like very much, and the smell of which will bring others to share it with them.'

`I can easily get you those things, father.'

`I shall want some oil of aniseed besides,' said I, `to put on the pigeon-holes, so that the birds' feathers may
touch it as they pass in and out, and become scented with what will attract the wild pigeons. This I can obtain by
pounding aniseed; therefore, bring me the mortar and some oil.'

When this was strongly impregnated with the aromatic oil from the seeds (for I did not purpose to distill it in
regular style), I strained it through a cloth, pressing it strongly: the result answered my purpose, and the scent
would certainly remain for some days.

All my preparations being completed, the pigeons were installed in their new residence, and the slides closed.
The European birds were by this time quite friendly with the three beautiful strangers; and when the other boys
came home, and scrambled up the ladder to peep in at a little pane of glass I had fixed in front, they saw them
all contentedly picking up grain, and pecking at the `magic food', as Fritz called it, although he did not betray
my secret arts to his brothers.

Early on the third morning I aroused Fritz, and directed him to ascend the rope ladder, and arrange a cord on the
sliding door of the dove-cot, by which it could be opened or closed from below. Also he poured fresh aniseed
oil all about the entrance, after which we returned, and awoke the rest of the family, telling them that if they
liked to make haste, they might see me let the pigeons fly.

Everybody came to the dove-cot, understanding that some ceremony was to attend the event, and I waved a
wand with mock solemnity, while I muttered a seeming incantation, and then gave Fritz a sign to draw up
the sliding panel.

Presently out popped the pretty heads of the captives, the soft eyes glanced about in all directions; they
withdrew, they ventured forth again, they came timidly out on `the verandah', as little Franz expressed it; then,
as though suddenly startled, the whole party took wing, with the shrill whizzing sound peculiar to the flight of
pigeons, and circling above us, they rose higher, higher, finally darting quite out of sight.

While we were yet gazing after them, they reappeared, and settled quietly on the dove-cot; but as we
congratulated ourselves on a return which showed they accepted this as a home, up sprang the three blue
pigeons, the noble foreigners, for whom chiefly I had planned the house, and rising in circles high in air, winged
their rapid way direct towards Falconhurst.

Their departure had such air of determination and resolve about it, that I feared them lost to us for ever.

Endeavouring to console ourselves by petting our four remaining birds, we could not forget this disappointment,
and all day long the dove-cot remained the centre of attraction.

Nothing, however, was seen of the fugitives until about the middle of next day; when most of us were hard at
work inside the cavern, Jack sprang in full of excitement, exclaiming:
`He is there! He is come! He really is!'

`Who? Who is there? What do you mean?'

`The blue pigeon, to be sure! Hurrah! Hurrah!'

`Oh, nonsense!' said Ernest. `You want to play us a trick.'

`Why should it be "nonsense"?' cried I. `I fully believe we shall see them all soon!'

Out ran everybody to the dove-cot, and there, sure enough, stood the pretty fellow, but not alone, for he was
billing and cooing to a mate, a stranger of his own breed, apparently inviting her to enter his dwelling; for he
popped in and out at the door, bowing, sidling, and cooing, in a most irresistible manner, until the shy little lady
yielded to his blandishments, and tripped daintily in.

`Now, let's shut the door. Pull the cord and close the panel!' shouted the boys, making a rush at the string.

`Stop!' cried I. `Let the string alone! I won't have you frighten the little darlings. Besides, the others will be
coming--would you shut the door in their faces?'

`Here they come! Here they come!' exclaimed Fritz, whose keen eye marked the birds afar, and to our delight
the second blue pigeon arrived, likewise with a mate, whom, after a pretty little flirtation scene of real and
assumed modesty on her part, he succeeded in leading home.

The third and handsomest of the new pigeons was the last in making his appearance. Perhaps he had greater
difficulty than the others in finding a mate as distinguished in rank and beauty as himself. However, we fully
expected them, and the boys talked of the arrival of `Mr. and Mrs. Nicobar' as a matter of course.

Late in the day Franz and his mother went out to provide for supper, but the child returned directly, exclaiming
that we must hasten to the dove-cot to see something beautiful.

Accordingly a general rush was made out of the cave, and we saw with delight that the third stranger also had
returned with a lovely bride, and encouraged by the presence of the first arrivals, they soon made themselves at

In a short time nest-building commenced, and among the materials collected by the birds, I observed a long grey
moss or lichen, and thought it might very possibly be the same which, in the West Indies, is gathered from the
bark of old trees, where it grows, and hangs in great tuft-like beards, to be used instead of horse-hair for stuffing

My wife no sooner heard of it, than her active brain devised fifty plans for making it of use. Would we but
collect enough, she would clean and sort it, and there would be no end to the bolsters, pillows, saddles, and
cushions she would stuff with it.

For the discovery of nutmegs we had also to thank the pigeons, and they were carefully planted in our orchard.
For some time no event of particular note occurred, until at length Jack, as usual, got into a scrape causing
thereby no little excitement at home.

He went off early on one of his own particular private expeditions.

He was in the habit of doing this that he might surprise us with some new acquisition on his return.
This time, however, he came back in most wretched plight, covered with mud and green slime; a great bundle of
Spanish canes was on his back, muddy and green like himself; he had lost a shoe, and altogether presented a
ludicrous picture of misery, at which we could have laughed, had he not seemed more ready to cry!

`My dear boy! What has happened to you? Where have you been?'

`Only in the swamp behind the powder magazine, father,' replied he. `I went to get reeds for my wickerwork,
because I wanted to weave some baskets and hen-coops, and I saw such beauties a little way off in the marsh,
much finer than those close by the edge, that I tried to get at them.

`I jumped from one firm spot to another, till at last I slipped and sank over my ankles; I tried to get on towards
the reeds, which were close by, but in I went deeper and deeper, till I was above the knees in thick soft mud,
and there I stuck!

`I screamed and shouted, but nobody came, and I can tell you I was in a regular fright.

`At last who should appear but my faithful Fangs! He knew my voice and came close up to me, right over the
swamp, but all the poor beast could do, was to help me to make a row; I wonder you did not hear us! The very
rocks rang, but nothing came of it, so despair drove me to think of an expedient. I cut down all the reeds I could
reach round and round me, and bound them together into this bundle, which made a firm place on which to lean,
while I worked and kicked about to free my feet and legs, and after much struggling, I managed to get astride on
the reeds.

`There I sat, supported above the mud and slime, while Fangs ran yelping backwards and forwards between me
and the bank, seeming surprised I did not follow. Suddenly I thought of catching hold of his tail. He dragged
and pulled, and I sprawled, and crawled, and waded, sometimes on my reeds like a raft, sometimes lugging
them along with me, till we luckily got back to terra firma. But I had a near squeak for it, I can tell you.'

`A fortunate escape indeed, my boy!' cried I, `And I thank God for it. Fangs has really acted a heroic part as
your deliverer, and you have shown great presence of mind. Now go with your mother, and get rid of the slimy
traces of your disaster! You have brought me splendid canes, exactly what I want for a new scheme of mine.'

The fact was, I meant to try to construct a loom for my wife, for I knew she understood weaving, so I chose two
fine strong reeds, and splitting them carefully, bound them together again, that when dry they might be quite
straight and equal, and fit for a frame. Smaller reeds were cut into pieces and sharpened for the teeth of the
comb. The boys did this for me without in the least knowing their use, and great fun they made of `father's
monster toothpicks'.

In time all the various parts of the loom were made ready and put together, my wife knowing nothing of it,
while to the incessant questions of the children, I replied mysteriously:

`Oh, it is an outlandish sort of musical instrument; mother will know how to play upon it.'

And when the time came for presenting it, her joy was only equalled by the amusement and interest with which
the children watched her movements while `playing the loom', as they always said.

About this time, a beautiful little foal, a son of the onager, was added to our stud, and as he promised to grow up
strong and tractable, we soon saw how useful he would be. The name of `Swift' was given to him, and he was to
be trained for my own riding.

The interior arrangements of the cavern being now well forward, I applied myself to contriving an aqueduct,
that fresh water might be led close up to our cave, for it was a long way to go to fetch it from Jackal River, and
especially inconvenient on washing days. As I wanted to do this before the rainy season began, I set about it at

Pipes of hollow bamboo answered the purpose well, and a large cask formed the reservoir. The supply was
good, and the comfort of having it close at hand so great, that my wife declared she was as well pleased with
our engineering as if we had made her a fountain and marble basin adorned with mermaids and dolphins.

Anticipating the setting-in of the rains, I pressed forward all work connected with stores for the winter, and
great was the in-gathering of roots, fruits, and grains, potatoes, rice, guavas, sweet acorns, pine-cones; load after
load arrived at the cavern, and my wife's active needle was in constant requisition, as the demand for more
sacks and bags was incessant.

Casks and barrels of all sorts and sizes were pressed into the service, until at last the raft was knocked to pieces,
and its tubs made to do duty in the store-rooms.

The weather became very unsettled and stormy. Heavy clouds gathered in the horizon, and passing storms of
wind, with thunder, lightning, and torrents of rain swept over the face of nature from time to time.

The sea was in frequent commotion; heavy groundswells drove masses of water hissing and foaming against the

Everything heralded the approaching rains. All nature joined in sounding forth the solemn overture to the
grandest work of the year.

It was now near the beginning of the month of June, and we had twelve weeks of bad weather before us.

We established some of the animals with ourselves at the salt-cave. The cow, the ass, Lightfoot, Storm and the
dogs, were all necessary to us, while Knips, Fangs and the eagle were sure to be a great amusement in
the long evenings.

The boys would ride over to Falconhurst very often to see that all was in order there, and fetch anything

Much remained to be done in order to give the cave a comfortable appearance, which became more desirable
now that we had to live indoors.

The darkness of the inner regions annoyed me, and I set myself to invent a remedy. After some thought, I called
in Jack's assistance, and we got a very tall, strong bamboo, which would reach right up to the vaulted roof. This
we planted in the earthen floor, securing it well by driving wedges in round it.

Jack ascended this pole very cleverly, taking with him a hammer and chisel to enlarge a crevice in the roof so as
to fix a pulley, by means of which, when he descended, I drew up a large ship's lantern, well supplied with oil,
and as there were four wicks, it afforded a very fair amount of light.

Several days were spent in arranging the different rooms. Ernest and Franz undertook the library, fixing shelves,
and setting the books in order. Jack and his mother took in hand the sitting-room and kitchen, while Fritz and I,
as better able for heavy work, arranged the workshops. The carpenter's bench, the turning lathe, and a large hest
of tools were set in convenient places, and many tools and instruments hung on the walls.

An adjoining chamber was kitted up as a forge, with fire-place, bellows, and anvil, complete, all which we had
found in the ship, packed together, and ready to set up.
When the great affairs were settled, we still found in all directions work to be done. Shelves, tables, benches,
movable steps, cupboards, pegs, door-handles and bolts--there seemed no end to our requirements, and we often
thought of the enormous amount of work necessary to maintain the comforts and conveniences of life which at
home we had received as matters of course.

But in reality, the more there was to do the better; and I never ceased contriving fresh improvements, being
fully aware of the importance of constant employment as a means of strengthening and maintaining the health
of mind and body. This, indeed, with a consciousness of continual progress toward a desirable end, is found to
constitute the main element of happiness.

Our rocky home was greatly improved by a wide porch which I made along the whole front of our rooms and
entrances, by levelling the ground to form a terrace, and sheltering it with a verandah of bamboo, supported
by pillars of the same.

Ernest and Franz were highly successful as librarians. The books, when unpacked and arranged, proved to be a
most valuable collection, capable of affording every sort of educational advantage.

Besides a variety of books of voyages, travels, divinity, and natural history (several containing fine coloured
illustrations), there were histories and scientific works, as well as standard fictions in several languages; also a
good assortment of maps, charts, mathematical and astronomical instruments, and an excellent pair of globes.

I foresaw much interesting study on discovering that we possessed the grammars and dictionaries of a great
many languages, a subject for which we all had a taste. With French we were well acquainted. Fritz and Ernest
had begun to learn English at school, and made further progress during a visit to England. Their mother, who
had once been intimate with a Dutch family, could speak that language pretty well.

After a great deal of discussion, we agreed to study different languages, so that in the event of meeting with
people of other nations, there should be at least one of the family able to communicate with them.

All determined to improve our knowledge of German and French. The two elder boys were to study English and
Dutch with their mother.

Ernest, already possessing considerable knowledge of Latin, wished to continue to study it, so as to be able to
make use of the many works on natural history and medicine written in that language.

Jack announced that he meant to learn Spanish `because it sounded so grand and imposing'.

I myself was interested in the Malay language, knowing it to be so widely spoken in the islands of the Eastern
Seas, and thinking it as likely as any other to be useful to us.

Our family circle by and by represented Babel in miniature, for scraps and fragments of all these tongues kept
buzzing about our ears from morning to night, each sporting his newly acquired word or sentence on every
possible occasion, propounding idioms and peculiar expressions like riddles, to puzzle the rest.

In this way, the labour of learning was very considerably lightened, and everyone came to know a few words of
each language.

Occasionally we amused ourselves by opening chests and packages hitherto untouched, and brought unexpected
treasures to light--mirrors, wardrobes, a pair of console tables with polished marble tops, elegant writing tables
and handsome chairs, clocks of various descriptions, a musical-box, and a chronometer were found; and by
degrees our abode was fitted up like a palace, so that sometimes we wondered at ourselves, and felt as though
we were strutting about in borrowed plumes.
The children begged me to decide on a name for our salt cave dwelling, and that of Rockburg was chosen

The weeks of imprisonment passed so rapidly that no one found time hang heavy on his hands.

Books occupied me so much that but little carpentering was done, yet I made a yoke for the oxen, a pair of
cotton-wool carders, and a spinning-wheel for my wife.

As the rainy season drew to a close, the weather for a while became wilder, and the storms fiercer than ever.
Thunder roared, lightning blazed, torrents rushed towards the sea, which came in raging billows to meet them,
lashed to fury by the tempests of wind which swept the surface of the deep.

The uproar of the elements came to an end at last. Nature resumed her attitude of repose, her smiling aspect of
peaceful beauty; and soon all traces of the ravages of floods and storms would disappear beneath the luxuriant
vegetation of the tropics.

Gladly quitting the sheltering walls of Rockburg to roam once more in the open air, we crossed Jackal River, for
a walk along the coast, and presently Fritz with his sharp eyes observed something on the small island near
Flamingo Marsh, which was, he said, long and rounded, resembling a boat bottom upwards.

Examining it with the telescope, I could form no other conjecture, and we resolved to make it the object of an
excursion next day, being delighted to resume our old habit of starting in pursuit of adventure. The boat was
accordingly got in readiness; it required some repairs, and fresh pitching, and then we made for the point of
interest, indulging in a variety of surmises as to what we should find.

It proved to be a huge stranded whale. The island being steep and rocky, it was necessary to be careful; but we
found a landing-place on the further side. The boys hurried by the nearest way to the beach where lay the
monster of the deep, while I clambered to the highest point of the islet, which commanded a view of the
mainland from Rockburg to Falconhurst.

On rejoining my sons, I found them only half-way to the great fish, and as I drew near they shouted in high

`Oh, father, just look at the glorious shells and coral branches we are finding! How does it happen that there are
such quantities?'

`Only consider how the recent storms have stirred the ocean to its depths! No doubt thousands of shellfish have
been detached from their rocks and dashed in all direction by the waves, which have thrown ashore even so
huge a creature as the whale yonder.'

`Yes; isn't he a frightful great brute!' cried Fritz. `Ever so much larger than he seemed from a distance. The
worst of it is, one does not well see what use to make of the huge carcase.'

`Why, make train oil, to be sure,' said Ernest. `I can't say he's a beauty, though, and it is much pleasanter to
gather these lovely shells, than to cut up blubber.'

`Well, let us amuse ourselves with them for the present,' said I, `but in the afternoon, when the sea is calmer, we
will return with the necessary implements, and see if we can turn the stranded whale to good account.'
We were soon ready to return to the boat, but Ernest had a fancy for remaining alone on the island till we came
back, and asked my permission to do so, that he might experience, for an hour or two, the sensations of
Robinson Crusoe.

To this, however, I would not consent, assuring him that our fate, as a solitary family, gave him quite sufficient
idea of shipwreck on an uninhabited island, and that his lively imagination must supply the rest.

The boys found it hard work to row back, and began to beg of me to exert my wonderful inventive powers in
contriving some kind of rowing machine.

`You lazy fellows!' returned I. `Give me the great clockwork out of a church tower, perhaps I might be able to
relieve your labours.'

`Oh father!' cried Fritz. `Don't you know there are iron wheels in the clockwork of the large kitchen-jacks? I'm
sure mother would give them up, and you could make something out of them, could you not?'

`By the time I have manufactured a rowing-machine out of a roasting-jack, I think your arms will be pretty well
inured to the use of your oars! However, I am far from despising the hint, my dear Fritz.'

`Is coral of any use?' demanded Jack suddenly.

`In former times it was pounded and used by chemists; but it is now chiefly used for various ornaments, and
made into beads for necklaces et cetera. As such, it is greatly prized by savages, and were we to fall in with
natives, we might very possibly find a store of coral useful in bartering with them.

`For the present we will arrange these treasures of the deep in our library, and make them the beginning of a
Museum of Natural History, which will afford us equal pleasure and instruction.'

`One might almost say that coral belongs at once to the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms,' remarked
Fritz; `it is hard like stone, it has stems and branches like a shrub, and I believe tiny insects inhabit the cells, do
they not, father?'

`You are right, Fritz; coral consists of the calcereous cells of minute animals, so built up as to form a tree-like

`The coral fishery gives employment to many men in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, and other places.
The instrument commonly used consists of two heavy beams of wood, secured together at right angles, and
loaded with stones. Hemp and netting are attached to the under side of the beams, to the middle of which is
fastened one end of a strong rope, by which the apparatus is let down from a boat, and guided to the spots where
the coral is most abundant.

`The branches of the coral become entangled in the hemp and network; they are broken off from the rock, and
are drawn to the surface of the water.

`Left undisturbed, these coral insects, labouring incessantly, raise foundations, on which, in course of time,
fertile islands appear, clothed with verdure, and inhabited by man.'

`Why father, here we are at the landing-place!' exclaimed Jack. `It has seemed quite easy to pull since you
began to tell us such interesting things.'

`Very interesting, indeed; but did you notice that the wind had changed, Jack?' remarked Ernest as he shipped
his oar.
The animated recital of our adventures, the sight of the lovely shells and corals, and the proposed work for the
afternoon, inspired my wife and Franz with a great wish to accompany us.

To this I gladly consented, only stipulating that we should go provided with food, water and a compass. `For,'
said I, `the sea has only just ceased from its raging, and being at the best of times of uncertain and capricious
nature, we may chance to be detained on the island, or forced to land at a considerable distance from home.'

Dinner was quickly dispatched, and preparations set on foot. The more oil we could obtain the better, for a great
deal was used in the large lantern which burnt day and night in the recesses of the cave; therefore all available
casks and barrels were pressed into the service; many, of course, once full of pickled herrings, potted pigeons
and other winter stores, were now empty, and we took a goodly fleet of these in tow.

Knives, hatchets, and the boys' climbing buskins, were put on board, and we set forth, the labour of the oar
being greater than ever, now that our freight was so much increased.

The sea being calm, and the tide suiting better, we found it easy to land close to the whale; my first care was to
place the boat, as well as the casks, in perfect security, after which we proceeded to a close inspection of our

Its enormous size quite startled my wife and little boy; the length being from sixty to sixty-five feet, and the
girth between thirty and forty, while the weight could not have been less than 50,000 lbs.

The color was a uniform velvety black, and the enormous head about one-third of the length of the entire hulk,
the eyes quite small, not much larger than those of an ox, and the ears almost undiscernable.

The jaw opened very far back, and was nearly sixteen feet in length, the most curious part of its structure being
the remarkable substance known as whalebone, masses of which appeared all along the jaws, solid at the base,
and splitting into a sort of fringe at the extremity. This arrangement is for the purpose of aiding the whale in
procuring its food, and separating it from the water.

The tongue was remarkably large, soft, and full of oil; the opening of the throat wonderfully small, scarcely two
inches in diameter.

`Why, what can the monster eat?' exclaimed Fritz; `he can never swallow a proper mouthful down this little

`The mode of feeding adopted by the whale is so curious,' I replied, `that I must explain it to you before we
begin work.

`This animal (for I should tell you that a whale is not a fish; he possess no gills, he breathes atmospheric air, and
would be drowned if too long detained below the surface of the water); this animal, then, frequents those parts
of the ocean best supplied with the various creatures on which he feeds. Shrimps, small fish, lobsters, various
molluscs, and medusae form his diet.

`Driving with open mouth through the congregated shoals of these little creatures, the whale engulfs them by
millions in his enormous jaws, and continues his destructive course until he has sufficiently charged his mouth
with prey.

`Closing his jaws and forcing out, through the interstices of the whalebone, the water which he has taken with
his prey, he retains the captured animals, and swallows them at his leisure.
`The nostrils, or blow-holes, are placed, you see, on the upper part of the head, in order that the whale may rise
to breathe, and repose on the surface of the sea, showing very little of his huge carcase.

`The breathings are called "spoutings," because a column of mixed vapor and water is thrown from the blow-
holes, sometimes to a height of twenty feet.

`And now, boys,' cried I, `fasten on your buskins, and let me see if you can face the work of climbing this
slippery mountain of flesh, and cutting it up.'

Fritz and Jack stripped, and went to work directly, scrambling over the back to the head, where they assisted me
to cut away the lips, so as to reach the whale bone, a large quantity of which was detached and carried to the

Ernest laboured manfully at the creature's side, cutting out slabs of blubber, while his mother and Franz helped
as well as they could to put it in casks.

Presently we had a multitude of unbidden guests. The air was filled by the shrill screams and hoarse croaks and
cries of numbers of birds of prey; they flew around us in ever narrowing circles, and becoming bolder as their
voracity was excited by the near view of the tempting prey, they alighted close to us, snatching morsels greedily
from under the very strokes of our knives and hatchets.

Our work was seriously interrupted by these feathered marauders, who, after all, were no greater robbers than
we ourselves. We kept them off as well as we could by blows from our tools, and several were killed, my wife
taking possession of them immediately for the sake of the feathers.

It was nearly time to leave the island, but first I stripped off a long piece of the skin, to be used for traces,
harness, and other leather-work. It was about three-quarters of an inch thick, and very soft and oily--but I knew
it would shrink and be tough and durable.

I also took a part of the gums in which the roots of the baleen or whalebone was still embedded, having read
that this is considered quite a delicacy, as well as the skin, which, when properly dressed and cut in little cubes,
like black dice, has been compared, by enthusiastic (and probably very hungry) travellers, to cocoanut and

The boys thought the tongue might prove equally palatable, but I valued it only on account of the large quantity
of oil it contained.

With a heavy freight we put to sea, and made what haste we could to reach home and cleanse our persons from
the unpleasant traces of the disgusting work in which we had spent the day.

Next morning we started at dawn. My wife and Franz were left behind, for our proposed work was even more
horrible than that of the preceding day; they could not assist, and had no inclination to witness it.

It was my intention to open the carcase completely, and, penetrating the interior, to obtain various portions of
the intestines, thinking that it would be possible to convert the larger ones into vessels fit for holding the oil.

This time we laid aside our clothes and wore only strong canvas trousers when we commenced operations,
which were vigorously carried on during the whole of the day; then, satisfied that we could do so with a clear
conscience, we abandoned the remains to the birds of prey, and, with a full cargo, set sail for land.
On the way, it appeared to strike the boys (who had made not the slightest objection to the singularly unpleasant
task I had set them) as very strange that I should wish to possess what they had been working so hard to procure
for me.

`What can have made you wish to bring away that brute's entrails, father? Are they of any use?'

`There are countries,' I replied, `where no wood grows of which to make barrels, and no hemp for thread, string
and cordage. Necessity, the mother of all the more valuable inventions, has taught the inhabitants of those
countries, Greenlanders, Esquimaux and others, to think of substitutes, and they use the intestines of the whale
for one purpose, the sinews and nerves for the other.'

We were right glad to land, and get rid, for the present, of our unpleasant materials, the further preparation of
which was work in store for the following day.

A refreshing bath, clean clothes, and supper, cheered us all up, and we slept in peace.
                                               Chapter 11
`Now for the finishing up of this dirty job,' cried I, merrily, as we all woke up next morning at daybreak. And
after the regular work was done, we commenced operations by raising a stand or rough scaffold on which the
tubs full of blubber were placed and heavily pressed, so that the purest and finest oil overflowed into vessels

The blubber was afterwards boiled in a cauldron over a fire kindled at some distance from our abode, and by
skimming and straining through a coarse cloth, we succeeded in obtaining a large supply of excellent train oil,
which, in casks and bags made of the intestines, was safely stowed away in the `cellar', as the children called
our roughest store-room.

This day's work was far from agreeable, and the dreadful smell oppressed us all, more especially my poor wife,
who, nevertheless, endured it with her accustomed good temper. However, she very urgently recommended that
the new island should be the headquarters for another colony, where, said she, `any animals we leave would be
safe from apes and other plunderers, and where you would find it so very convenient to boil whale-blubber,
strain train oil, and the like'.

This proposal met with hearty approval, especially from the boys, who were always charmed with any new
plan; and they were eager to act upon it at once. But when I reminded them of the putrefying carcase which
lay there, they confessed it would be better to allow wind and storms, birds and insects to do their work in
purging the atmosphere, and reducing the whale to a skeleton before we revisited the island.

The idea of a rowing-machine kept recurring to my brain, and I determined to attempt to make one. I took an
iron bar, which when laid across the middle of the boat projected about a foot each way. I provided this bar in
the middle with ribbed machinery, and at each end with a sort of nave, in which, as in a cart wheel, four flat
spokes, or paddles, were fixed obliquely. These were intended to do the rowers' part.

Then the jack was arranged to act upon the machinery in the middle of the iron cross-bar, in such a way that one
of its strong cogwheels bit firmly into the ribs, so that when it was wound up, it caused the bar to revolve
rapidly, of course turning with it the paddles fixed at either end, which consequently struck the water so as to
propel the boat.

Although this contrivance left much to be desired in the way of improvement, still when Fritz and I wound up
the machinery, and went off on a trial trip across the bay, we splashed along at such a famous rate, that the
shores rang with the cheers and clapping of the whole family, delighted to behold what they considered my
brilliant success.

Everyone wanted to go on board, and take a cruise, but as it was getting late, I could not consent. A trip next
day, however, was promised to Cape Disappointment and the little settlement of Prospect Hill.

This proposal satisfied everybody. The evening was spent in preparing the dresses, arms and food which would
be required, and we retired early to rest.

Intending to be out all day, the house was left in good order, and we departed on our expedition, provided,
among other things, with spades and mattocks, for I wished to get young cocoanut trees and shrubs of different
kinds, that, on our way back, we might land on Whale Island, and begin our plantation there.

We directed our course towards the opposite side of the bay. The sea was smooth, my rowing-machine
performed its work easily, and leaving Safety Bay and Shark Island behind us, we enjoyed at our ease the
panorama of all the coast scenery.

Landing near Prospect Hill, we moored the boat, and walked through the woods to our little farm, obtaining
some fresh cocoanuts, as well as young plants, on the way.

Before coming in sight of the cottage at the farm, we heard the cocks crow, and I experienced a sudden rush of
emotion as the sound recalled in a degree painfully vivid, the recollection of many a ride and walk at home,
when we would be greeted by just such familiar sounds as we approached some kind friend's house. Here, but
for the unconscious animals, utter solitude and silence prevailed, and I with my dear family, whose visit would
have been hailed with delight in so many homes, advanced unnoticed to this lonely cottage.

So long had been our absence that our arrival created a perfect panic. The original animals had forgotten us, and
to their progeny, lambs, kids, and chickens, who had never seen the face of man, we seemed an army of fierce

The boys found it impossible to milk the goats, until, by the use of the lasso, they captured them one after the
other, bound their legs, then giving them salt to lick, they soon obtained a supply of excellent milk which was
poured from the cocoanut shells they used into calabash flasks, so that we could take with us what was not
required at dinner.

The fowls were enticed by handfuls of grain and rice, and my wife caught as many as she wished for.

We were by this time very ready for dinner, and the cold provisions we had with us were set forth, the chief dish
consisting of the piece of whale's tongue, which, by the boys' desire, had been cooked with a special view to this

But woeful was the disappointment when the tongue was tasted! One after another, with dismal face, ronounced
it 'horrid stuff,' begged for some pickled herring to take away the taste of train-oil, and willingly bestowed on
Fangs the cherished dainty.

Fortunately there was a sufficient supply of other eatables, and the fresh, delicious cocoanuts and goat's milk
put everyone in good humour again.

While the mother packed everything up, Fritz and I got some sugar-cane shoots which I wished to plant, and
then returned to the shore and again embarked.

Before returning to Whale Island, I felt a strong wish to round Cape Disappointment and survey the coast
immediately beyond, but the promontory maintained the character of its name, and we found that a long
sandbank, as well as hidden reefs and rocks, ran out a great way into the sea.

Fritz espying breakers ahead, we put about at once, and aided by a light breeze, directed our course towards
Whale Island.

On landing, I began at once to plant the sugar-cane shoots we had brought. The boys assisted me for a while,
but wearied somewhat of the occupation, and one after another went off in search of shells and coral, leaving
their mother and me to finish the work.

Presently Jack came back, shouting loudly:

`Father! Mother! Do come and look. There is an enormous skeleton lying here; the skeleton of some fearful
great beast--a mammoth, I should think.'
`Why Jack!' returned I laughing, `have you forgot our old acquaintance, the whale? What else could it be?'

`Oh no, father, it is not the whale. This thing has not fish bones, but real good, honest, huge, beast bones. I don't
know what can have become of the whale--floated out to sea most likely. This mammoth is ever so much
bigger. Come and see!'

As I was about to follow the boy, a voice from another direction suddenly cried:

`Father! Father! A great enormous turtle! Please make haste. It is waddling back to the sea as hard as it can go,
and we can't stop it.' This appeal being more pressing, as well as more important, than Jack's, I snatched up an
oar and hastened to their assistance.

Sure enough a large turtle was scrambling quickly towards the water, and was within a few paces of it, although
Ernest was valiantly holding on by one of its hind legs.

I sprang down the bank, and making use of the oar as a lever, we succeeded with some difficulty in turning the
creature on its back.

It was a huge specimen, fully eight feet long, and being now quite helpless, we left it sprawling, and went to
inspect Jack's mammoth skeleton, which, of course, proved to be neither more nor less than that of the whale. I
convinced him of the fact by pointing out the marks of our feet on the ground, and the broken jaws where we
had hacked out the whalebone.

`What can have made you take up that fancy about a mammoth, my boy?'

`Ernest put it into my head, father. He said there seemed to be the skeleton of an antediluvian monster there, so I
ran to look closer, and I never thought of the whale, when I saw no fish bones. I suppose Ernest was joking.'

`Whales are generally considered as fishes by those little acquainted with the animal kingdom, but they belong
to the class of mammals, which comprises man, the monkey tribes, the bats, the dogs and cats, all hoofed
animals, whales and their allies, with other animals, the last on the list being the sloth.

`The name by which they are distinguished is derived from the Latin word "mama," a breast, and is given to
them because all the species belonging to this class are furnished with a set of organs called the mammary
glands, secreting the liquid known as milk, by which the young are nourished.

`The bones of the whale differ from those of animals, simply in being of a hollow construction, and filled with
air so as to render the carcase more buoyant. The bones of birds are also hollow, for the same reason, and in all
this we see conspicuously the wisdom and goodness of the great Creator.'

`What a marvellous structure it is, father!' said Fritz. `What a ponderous mass of bones! Can we not make use of
any of them?'

`Nothing strikes me at this moment; we will leave them to bleach here yet awhile, and perhaps by sawing them
up afterwards, make a few chairs, or a reading-desk for the museum. But now it is time to return home. Bring
the boat round to where the turtle awaits his fate; we must settle how to deal with him.'

It was soon decided that he must swim. I fastened the empty water-cask to a long line, one end of which was
made fast to the bow of the boat, the other carefully passed round the neck and fore-paws of the creature, who
was then lifted, so as to let him regain his feet; when he instantly made for the water, plunged in, the cask
loated after him, and prevented his sinking.
We were all on board in a moment; and the worthy fellow, after vainly attempting to dive, set himself diligently
to swim right forwards, towing us comfortably after him. I was ready to cut the line on the least appearance of
danger, and kept him on the course for Safety Bay by striking the water with a boat-hook right or left, according
as the turtle was disposed to turn too much one way or the other.

The boys were delighted with the fun, and compared me to Neptune in his car, drawn by dolphins, and a
accompanied by Amphitrite and attendant Tritons.

We landed safely at the usual place, near Rockburg, and the turtle was condemned and executed soon
afterwards; the shell, which was quite eight feet long, and three broad, was, when cleaned and prepared, to
form a trough for the water supply at the cave, and the meat was carefully salted, and stored up for many a good
and savoury meal.

It had been my intention to bring a piece of land under cultivation before the next rainy season, to be sown with
different sorts of grain; but many unforeseen circumstances had intervened to hinder this, and our animals,
unaccustomed to the yoke, were not available for the plough.

I therefore gave up the idea for the present, and applied myself, with Ernest's assistance, to completing the
loom, which, although the workmanship was clumsy, I succeeded in making quite fit for use. I had fortunately
in my younger days spent many hours in the workshops of weavers and other artisans, and therefore I
understood more than might have been expected of their various crafts.

Paste or size was required to smear over the threads; but we could not spare flour for such a purpose, and I used
isinglass, which kept the warp moist perfectly well, and spared us the necessity of setting up the loom in a damp
uncomfortable place, which has often to be done to prevent the overdrying of the web.

Of this isinglass I also made thin plates, to be used as window-panes; they were at least as transparent as horn,
and when fixed deep in the rock and beyond the reach of rain, did good service in admitting light.

Success encouraging me to persevere, I next began harness-making; the spoils of the chase having furnished us
with plenty of leather, with which I covered light frames of wood, using the hairy moss or lichen for stuffing,
and ere long the animals were equipped with saddles, stirrups, bridles, yokes and collars, to the very great
satisfaction of their youthful riders and drivers.

This occupation was followed by a great deal of work connected with the annual return of the herring shoals
which now took place; to them succeeding, as on former occasions, shoals of other fish, and many seals. More
than ever aware of the value of all of these, we did not fail to make good use of our opportunities, and captured
large numbers.

The boys were getting anxious for another shooting expedition; but before undertaking that, I wished to do
some basket-making, as sacks were beginning to fail us, and there was constant demand for baskets in which to
carry and keep our roots and fruits. Our first attempts were clumsy enough; but, as usual, perseverance was
rewarded, and we produced a good supply of all sorts and sizes. One very large basket I furnished with
openings through which to pass a strong stick, so that it might, when heavily laden, be carried by two persons.

No sooner did the children see the force of this idea, than they got a bamboo, and popping little Franz into the
basket, carried him about in triumph.

This amusement suggested a fresh notion to Fritz. `Oh, father,' cried he, `don't you think we might make
something like this for mother, and carry her much more comfortably than jolting along in the cart?'
The boys shouted with glee at the proposal, and though their mother thought the plan feasible enough, she
confessed that she did not much like the thought of sitting in the middle of a basket, and just looking out now
and then over the rim.

However, I assured her it should be a well-shaped comfortable sedan-chair, or litter; and the next question was
how it should be carried, since the boys could not play the part of Indian palanquin-bearers, either with safety to
their mother, or with any pleasure to themselves.

`The bull and the buffalo!' cried Jack. `Why not use them for it? Let's go and try them now!'

Off ran the boys, and in a short time the basket was securely hung between Storm and Grumble. Fritz and Jack
sprang into their saddles, and Ernest very gingerly deposited himself in the `cradle', as Franz called it; they set
forth at a most sober pace, the animals, who were perfectly docile, appearing only a little surprised at the new

`Oh, it is so pleasant, mother, it is a delightful motion,' cried Ernest, as they passed us. `It swings and rocks
really soothingly. Quicker, Fritz! Go quicker!' And the trot pleasing him equally well, the pace gradually
quickened, till the animals were going along at a rate which shook and jolted the basket about most fearfully.

Ernest called and screamed in vain for a halt. His brothers thought it capital fun to `shake up' the `professor',
and made the circuit of the level ground near Rockburg, finally pulling up in front of us, like performers
stopping to receive the applause of spectators.

It was impossible to help laughing, the scene was so ridiculous, but Ernest was very angry with his brothers, his
reproaches provoked high words in reply, and a quarrel was imminent, but I interfered, and showed them how
easily a joke carried too far would lead to disputes and bad feeling, urging them to avoid on all occasions any
breach of the good fellowship and brotherly love which was the mainstay of our strength and happiness.

Good humour was soon restored, Ernest himself helped to unharness the beasts, and got some handfuls of salt
and barley to reward their exertions, saying, that they must have some more palanquin-practise another day.

I was seated with my wife and Fritz beneath the shade of the verandah, engaged in wicker-work, and chatting
pleasantly, when suddenly Fritz got up, advanced a step or two, gazing fixedly along the avenue which led from
Jackal River, then he exclaimed:

`I see something so strange in the distance, father! What in the world can it be? First it seems to be drawn in
coils on the ground like a cable, then uprises as it were a little mast, then that sinks, and the coils move along
again. It is coming towards the bridge.'

My wife took alarm at this description, and calling the other boys, retreated into the cave, where I desired them
to close up the entrances, and keep watch with firearms at the upper windows.

These were openings we had made in the rock at some elevation, reached within by steps, and a kind of gallery
which passed along the front of the rooms.

Fritz remained by me while I examined the object through my spy-glass. `It is, as I feared, an enormous
serpent!' cried I. `It advances directly this way, and we shall be placed in the greatest possible danger, for it will
cross the bridge to a certainty.'

`May we not attack it, father?' exclaimed the brave boy.
`Only with the greatest caution,' returned I. `It is far too formidable, and too tenacious of life, for us rashly to
attempt its destruction. Thank God we are at Rockburg, where we can keep in safe retreat, while we watch for
an opportunity to destroy this frightful enemy. Go up to your mother now, and assist in preparing the firearms;
I will join you directly, but I must further observe the monster's movements.'

Fritz left me unwillingly, while I continued to watch the serpent, which was of gigantic size, and already much
too near the bridge to admit of the possibility of removing that means of access to our dwelling. I recollected,
too, how easily it would pass through the walls. The reptile advanced with writhing and undulatory movements,
from time to time rearing its head to the height of fifteen or twenty feet, and slowly turning it about, as though
on the look-out for prey.

As it crossed the bridge, with a slow, suspicious motion, I withdrew, and hastily rejoined my little party, which
was preparing to garrison our fortress in warlike array, but with considerable trepidation, which my presence
served in a measure to allay.

We placed ourselves at the upper openings, after strongly barricading everything below, and, ourselves unseen,
awaited with beating hearts the further advance of the foe, which speedily became visible to us.

Its movements appeared to become uncertain, as though puzzled by the trace of human habitation; it turned in
different directions, coiling and uncoiling, and frequently rearing its head, but keeping about the middle of the
space in front of the cave, when suddenly, as though unable to resist doing so, one after another the boys fired,
and even their mother discharged her gun. The shots took not the slightest effect beyond startling the monster,
whose movements were accelerated. Fritz and I also fired with steadier aim, but with the same want of success,
for the monster passing on with a gliding motion, entered the reedy marsh to the left, and entirely disappeared.

A wonderful weight seemed lifted from our hearts, while all eagerly discussed the vast length and awful though
magnificent appearance of the serpent. I had recognized it as the boa constrictor. It was a vast specimen,
upwards of thirty feet in length.

I explained to the children that its name in South America is Boaguacu; the first syllable of that name, with the
Latin addition, which indicates that it kills its prey by pressure, or 'constriction,' gives the name by which it is
commonly known.

The near neighbourhood of this terrific reptile occasioned me the utmost anxiety; and I desired that no one
should leave the house on any pretence whatever, without my express permission. During three whole days we
were kept in suspense and fear, not daring to stir above a few hundred steps from the door, although during all
that time the enemy showed no sign of his presence.

In fact, we might have been induced to think the boa had passed across the swamp, and found his way by some
cleft or chasm through the wall of cliffs beyond, had not the restless behaviour of our geese and ducks given
proof that he still lurked in the thicket of reeds which they were accustomed to make their nightly resting place.

They swam anxiously about, and with much clapping of wings and disturbed cackling, showed their uneasiness;
finally, taking wing, they crossed the harbour, and took up their quarters on Shark's Island.

My quandary increased, as time passed on. I could not venture to attack with insufficient force a monstrous and
formidable serpent concealed in dense thickets amidst dangerous swamps; yet it was dreadful to live in a state
of blockade, cut off from all the important duties in which we were engaged, and shut up with our animals in
the unnatural light of the cave, enduring constant anxiety and perturbation.

Out of this painful state we were at last delivered by none other than our good old simple-hearted donkey; not,
however, by the exercise of a praiseworthy quality, but by sheer stupidity.
Our situation was rendered the more critical from having no great stock of provisions, or fodder for the animals;
and the hay failing us on the evening of the third day, I determined to set them at liberty by sending them, under
the guidance of Fritz, across the river at the ford.

He was to ride Lightfoot, and they were to be fastened together until safely over.

Next morning we began to prepare for this by tying them in a line, and while so engaged my wife opened the
door, when old Grizzle, who was fresh and frolicsome after the long rest and regular feeding, suddenly broke
away from the halter, cut some awkward capers, then bolting out, careered at full gallop straight for the marsh.

In vain we called him by name. Fritz would even have rushed after him, had not I held him back. In another
moment the ass was close to the thicket, and with a cold shudder of horror, we beheld the snake rear itself from
its lair, the fiery eyes glanced around, the dark deadly jaws opened widely, the forked tongue darted greedily
forth--poor Grizzle's fate was sealed.

Becoming aware on a sudden of his danger, he stopped short, spread out all four legs, and set up the most
piteous and discordant bray that ever wrung echo from rocks.

Swift and straight as a fencer's thrust, the destroyer was upon him, wound round him, entangled, enfolded,
compressed him, all the while cunningly avoiding the convulsive kicks of the agonized animal.

A cry of horror arose from the spectators of this miserable tragedy. `Shoot him, father! Oh, shoot him--do save
poor Grizzle!'

`My children, it is impossible!' cried I. `Our old friend is lost to us for ever! I have hopes, however, that when
gorged with his prey, we may be able to attack the snake with some chance of success.'

`But the horrible wretch is never going to swallow him all at once, father?' cried Jack. `That will be too

`Snakes have no grinders, but only fangs, therefore they cannot chew their food, and must swallow it whole. But
although the idea is startling, it is not really more shocking than the rending, tearing and shedding of blood
which occurs when lions and tigers seize their prey.'

`But,' said Franz, `how can the snake separate the flesh from the bones without teeth? And is this kind of snake

`No, dear child,' said I, `only fearfully strong and ferocious. And it has no need to tear the flesh from the bones.
It swallows them, skin, hair and all, and digests everything in its stomach.'

`It seems utterly impossible that the broad ribs, the strong legs, hoofs and all, should go down that throat,'
exclaimed Fritz.

`Only see,' I replied, `how the monster deals with his victim; closer and more tightly he curls his crushing folds,
the bones give way, he is kneading him into a shapeless mass: He will soon begin to gorge his prey, and slowly
but surely it will disappear down that distended maw!'

My wife, with little Franz, found the scene all too horrible, and hastened into the cave, trembling and distressed.
To the rest of us there seemed a fearful fascination in the dreadful sight, and we could not move from the spot. I
expected that the boa, before swallowing his prey, would cover it with saliva, to aid in the operation, although it
struck me that its very slender forked tongue was about the worst possible implement for such a purpose.
It was evident to us, however, that this popular idea was erroneous. The act of lubricating the mass must have
taken place during the process of swallowing; certainly nothing was applied beforehand. This wonderful
performance lasted from seven in the morning until noon. When the awkward morsel was entirely swallowed,
the serpent lay stiff, distorted, and apparently insensible along the edge of the marsh.

I felt that now or never was the moment for attack!

Calling on my sons to maintain their courage and presence of mind, I left our retreat with a feeling of joyous
emotion quite new to me, and approached with rapid steps and levelled gun, the outstretched form of
the serpent. Fritz followed me closely.

Jack, somewhat timidly, came several paces behind; while Ernest, after a little hesitation, remained where he

The monster's body was stiff and motionless, which made its rolling and fiery eyes, and the slow spasmodic
undulations of its tail more fearful by contrast.

We fired together, and both balls entered the skull: the light of the eye was extinguished, and the only
movement was in the further extremity of the body, which rolled, writhed, coiled and lashed from side to side.

Advancing closer, we fired our pistols directly into its head, a convulsive quiver ran through the mighty frame,
and the boa constrictor lay dead.

As we raised a cry of victory, Jack, desirous of a share in the glory of conquest, ran close to the creature, firing
his pistol into its side, when he was sent sprawling over and over by a movement of its tail, excited to a last
galvanic effort by the shot.

Being in no way hurt, he speedily recovered his feet, and declared he had given it its quietus.

`I hope the terrific noise you made just now was the signal of victory,' said my wife, drawing near, with the
utmost circumspection, and holding Franz tightly by the hand. `I was half-afraid to come, I assure you.'

`See this dreadful creature dead at our feet; and let us thank God that we have been able to destroy such an

`What's to be done with him now?' asked Jack.

`Let us get him stuffed,' said Fritz, `and set him up in the museum amongst our shells and corals.'

`Did anybody ever think of eating serpents?' inquired Franz.

`Of course not!' said his mother. `Why, child, serpents are poisonous--it would be very dangerous.'

`Excuse me, my dear wife,' said I. `First of all, the boa is not poisonous; and then, besides that, the flesh even of
poisonous snakes can be eaten without danger; as, for instance, the rattlesnake, from which can be made a
strong and nourishing soup, tasting very like good chicken broth--of course, the cook must be told to throw
away the head, containing the deadly fangs.

`It is remarkable that pigs do not fear poisonous snakes, but can kill and eat them without injury. An instance of
this occurs to my memory. A vessel on Lake Superior, in North America, was wrecked on a small island
abounding in rattlesnakes, and for that reason uninhabited.
`The vessel had a cargo of live pigs. The crew escaped to the mainland in a boat, but the pigs had to be left for
some time, till the owner could return to fetch them, but with the small hope of finding many left alive.

`To his surprise, the animals were not only alive, but remarkably fat and flourishing, while not a single
rattlesnake remained on the island. The pigs had clearly eaten the serpents.'

`But might not some other cause have been assigned for their disappearance?' asked Ernest. `Suppose, for
example, that a great flight of secretary birds had arrived, they might have cleared the island of rattlesnakes.'

`Oh, what is a secretary bird?' interrupted Franz. `I thought a secretary meant a man who wrote letters?'

`So it does, Franz, and the bird Ernest spoke of has curious long feathers projecting from either side of its head,
something like pens stuck behind a man's ear; hence its name.

`It is perfectly true that it lives on snakes, lizards, toads, and frogs, but, Ernest, I cannot give up my pigs; for, in
the first place, the secretary bird is an inhabitant of Southern Africa, and is never seen in North America, neither
does it ever fly in a flock; still, so ravenous is its appetite, that, no doubt, even one or two, had they by
some miracle found themselves on Lake Superior, would have been able to give a very good account of the
deadly reptiles, and at least shared in the glory of their extermination.'

My wife having gone to prepare dinner, we continued talking as we rested in the shade of some rocks, near the
serpent, for a considerable time. The open air was welcome to us after our long imprisonment; and we were,
besides, desirous to drive off any birds of prey who might be attracted to the carcase, which we wished to
preserve entire.

My boys questioned me closely on the subject of serpents in general; and I described to them the action of the
poison fangs; how they folded back on the sides of the upper jaw, and how the poison-secreting glands, and
reservoir are found at the back and sides of the head, giving to the venomous serpents that peculiar width of
head which is so unfailing a characteristic.

`The fangs are hollow,' said I, `and when the creature bites, the pressure forces down a tiny drop of the liquid
venom, which enters the wound and, through the veins, quickly spreads over the entire system. Sometimes, if
taken in time, cures are effected, but in most cases the bite of a serpent is followed by speedy death.'

The children were much interested in my account of the snake-charmers of India, how they fearlessly handle the
most deadly of the serpent tribe, the Cobra di Capello-or hooded cobra-, cause them to move in time to musical
sounds from a small pipe, twine the reptile about their arms and bare necks, and then, to prove that the poison
fangs have not been removed, make them bite a fowl, which soon dies from the effects.'

`How is it possible to extract the fangs, father?' asked Ernest.

`No instrument is required,' replied I; `I have read the account written by a gentleman in India, who saw a
snake-charmer catch a large cobra in the jungle, and for the purpose of removing the fangs, held up a cloth at
which the irritated snake flew, and the fangs being caught in it, the man seized the reptile by the throat,
extracted them, and then squeezed out the poison, a clear oily substance, upon a leaf.'

`What does the rattle of the rattlesnake look like? And how does it sound?'

`At the tip of the tail are a number of curious, loose, horny structures formed of the same substance as the
scales. A very good idea of the structure of the rattle may be formed by slipping a number of thimbles loosely
into each other.
`The rattlesnake lies coiled with its head flat, and the tip of its tail elevated; when alarmed or irritated it gives a
quivering movement to the tail which causes the joints of the rattle to shake against each other with a peculiar
sound, not easily described; all animals, even horses newly brought from Europe, tremble at this noise, and try
to escape.'

`What is the best thing to be done for the bite of a serpent?' inquired Fritz.

`Remedies are very various, very uncertain, and differ with the species inflicting the bite.

`Suction, ammonia, oil, the use of the knife, application of fresh mold, lunar caustic, leaves of certain plants, all
these and more are mentioned. There is a creeping plant, called Aristolodochia indica, the leaves of which have
in repeated instances done wonders for fearful bites. It is found in many parts of the world but most plentifully
in the hotter regions.

`A mode of cure adopted by the natives of India, Ceylon, and parts of Africa, is by the application of a
remarkable object called snake-stone. These are described as flattish, something like half an almond with
squared ends, rather light, bearing a very high polish, and of an intense jetty black.

`On being bitten by a cobra, the sufferer applies one of these stones to each puncture, where they adhere
strongly for a time, five or six minutes being about the average. They seem to absorb the blood as it flows from
the wound, and, at the last fall off, when the danger is considered to be over.

`But now we must leave this fertile subject of discussion, and I can only say I sincerely trust we may never have
cause to resume it from the appearance of another serpent here of any sort, size, or description.

`But come, Ernest, can you not give us an epitaph for our unfortunate friend the donkey? We must afford him
more honourable sepulture than he enjoys at present, when we proceed, as we speedily must, to disembowel
his murderer.'

Ernest took the matter quite seriously, and planting his elbows on his knees, he bent his thoughtful brow in his
hands, and remained wrapt in poetic meditation for about two minutes.

`I have it!' cried he. `But perhaps you will all laugh at me?'

`No, no, don't be shy, old fellow; spit it out!' and thus encouraged by his brother, Ernest, with the blush of a
modest author, began:

  `Beneath this stone poor Grizzle's bones are laid, `A faithful ass he was, and loved by all. `At length, his
master's voice he disobeyed, `And thereby came his melancholy fall.

  `A monstrous serpent, springing from the grass, `Seized, crushed, and swallowed him before our eyes.
  `But we, though yet we mourn our honest ass, Are grateful; for he thereby saved the lives `Of all the human
beings on this shore--`A father, mother, and their children four.'

`Hurrah for the epitaph! Well done, Ernest!' resounded on all sides, and taking out a large red pencil I used for
marking wood, the lines were forthwith inscribed on a great flat stone, being, as I told the boy, the very best
poetry that had ever been written on our coast.

We then had dinner, and afterwards went to work with the serpent. The first operation was to recover the
mangled remains of the ass, which being effected, he was buried in the soft marshy ground close by, and
the hole filled up with fragments of rock.
Then we yoked Storm and Grumble to the serpent, and dragged it to a convenient distance from Rockburg,
where the process of skinning, stuffing, and sewing up again afforded occupation of the deepest interest to the
boys for several days.

We took great pains to coil it round a pole in the museum, arranging the head with the jaws wide open, so as to
look as alarming as possible, and contriving to make eyes and tongue which were quite sufficient to represent
nature; in fact, our dogs never passed the monster without growling, and must have wondered at our taste in
keeping such a pet.

Over the entrance leading to the museum and library were inscribed these words:


The double meaning of this sentence pleased us all immensely.
                                                Chapter 12
The greatest danger to which we had yet been exposed was now over, but there remained much anxiety in my
mind lest another serpent might, unseen by us, have entered the swamp, or might appear, as this had done, from
the country beyond Falconhurst.

I projected then two excursions, the first to make a thorough examination of the thicket and morass; the next
right away to the Gap, through which alone the archenemy could have entered our territory.

On summoning my sons to accompany me to the marsh, I found neither Ernest nor Jack very eager to do so, the
latter vowing he had the cold shivers each time he thought how his ribs might have been smashed by the last
flap of the snake's tail; but I did not yield to their reluctance, and we finally set about crossing the marsh by
placing planks and wicker hurdles on the ground, and changing their places as we advanced.

Nothing was discovered beyond tracks in the reeds and the creature's lair; where the rushes, grass, and bog-
plants were beaten down.

Emerging beyond the thicket we found ourselves on firm ground, near the precipitous wall of rock, and
rerceived a clear sparkling brook flowing from an opening, which proved to be a cave or grotto of considerable

The vaulted roof was covered with stalactites, while many formed stately pillars, which seemed as though
supporting the roof. The floor was strewn with fine snow-white earth, with a smooth soapy feeling, which I felt
convinced was fuller's earth.

`Well, this is a pleasant discovery!' said I. `This is as good as soap for washing, and will save me the trouble of
turning soap-boiler.'

Perceiving that the streamlet flowed from an opening of some width in the inner rock, Fritz passed through, in
order to trace it to its source, presently shouting to me that the opening widened very much, and begging me to
follow him.

I did so, leaving the other boys in the outer cave, and fired a pistol-shot--the reverberating echoes of which
testified to the great extent of the place; and lighting the bit of candle I always carried with me, we advanced,
the light burning clear and steadily, though shedding a very feeble light in so vast a space.

Suddenly Fritz exclaimed: `I verily believe this is a second cave of salt! See how the walls glance! And how the
light is reflected from the roof!'

`These cannot be salt crystals,' said I, `the water which flows over them leaves no track, and tastes quite sweet. I
am rather inclined to believe that we have penetrated into a cave of rock crystal!'

`Oh, how splendid! Then we have discovered a great treasure!'

`Certainly if we could make any use of it; otherwise, in our situation, it is about as valuable as the lump of gold
found by good old Robinson Crusoe.'

`Anyhow, I will break off a piece for a specimen. See, here is a fine bit, only rather dull, and not transparent:
what a pity! I must knock off another.'
`You must go more carefully to work, or it will look as dull as the first. You destroyed its true form, which is
that of a pyramid, with six sides or facets.'

We remained some time in this interesting grotto, but our light burnt low after we had examined it in different
directions; and Fritz having secured a large lump, which exhibited several crystals in perfection, we quitted the
place, Fritz discharging a farewell shot for the sake of hearing the grand echoes.

On reaching the open air we saw poor Jack sobbing bitterly, but as soon as we appeared he ran joyfully towards
us, and threw himself into my arms.

`My child, what is the matter?' I cried anxiously.

`Oh, I thought you were lost! I heard a noise twice, as if the rocks had shattered down; and I thought you and
Fritz were crushed in the ruins! It was horrible! How glad I am to see you!'

I comforted the child, and explained the noises he had heard, inquiring why he was alone.

`Ernest is over there among the reeds: I daresay he did not hear the shots.'

I found Ernest busily engaged in weaving a basket in which to catch fish: he had devised it ingeniously, with a
funnel-shaped entrance; through which the fish passing would not easily find their way out, but would remain
swimming about in the wide part of the apparatus.

`I shot a young serpent while you were away, father,' said he. `It lies there covered with rushes; it is nearly four
feet long, and as thick as my arm.'

`A serpent!' cried I, hurrying towards it in alarm, and fearing there must be a brood of them in the swamp after
all. `A fine large eel you mean, my boy. This will provide an excellent supper for us tonight. I am glad you had
the courage to kill it, instead of taking to your heels and fleeing from the supposed serpent.'

`Well, I thought it would be so horrid to be pursued and caught that I preferred facing it; my shot took effect,
but it was very difficult to kill the creature outright, it moved about although its head was smashed.'

`The tenacity of life possessed by eels is very remarkable,' I said. `I have heard that the best mode of killing
them is to grasp them by the neck and slap their tails smartly against a stone or post.'

We made our way back more easily by keeping close to the cliffs, where the ground was firmer, and found my
wife washing clothes at the fountain. She rejoiced greatly at our safe return, and was much pleased with the
supply of fuller's earth, as she said there was now very little soap left. The eel was cooked for supper, and
during the evening a full account was given of our passage through the swamp, and discovery of the rock-
crystal cavern.

It was most important to ascertain whether any serpent lurked among the woods of our little territory between
the cliffs and the sea. Preparations were set on foot for the second and greater undertaking of a search
throughout the country beyond the river, as far as the Gap. I wished all the family to go on the expedition, a
decision which gave universal satisfaction.

Intending to be engaged in this search for several weeks, we took the small tent and a store of all sorts of
necessary provisions, as well as firearms, tools, cooking utensils and torches.
All these things were packed on the cart, which was drawn by Storm and Grumble. Jack and Franz mounted
them, and acted at once the part of riders and drivers. My wife sat comfortably in the cart, Fritz rode in advance,
while Ernest and I walked; we were protected in flank by the dogs and Fangs, the tame jackal.

Directing our course towards Woodlands, we saw many traces of the serpent's approach to Rockburg. In some
places, where the soil was loose, the trail, like a broad furrow, was very evident indeed.

At Falconhurst we made a halt and were, as usual, welcomed by the poultry, as well as by the sheep and goats.

We then passed on to Woodlands, where we arrived at nightfall. All was peaceful and in good order; no track of
the boa in that direction; no signs of visits from mischievous apes; the little farm and its inhabitants looked most

Next day was passed in making a survey of the immediate neighbourhood, at the same time collecting a
quantity of cotton, which was wanted for new pillows and cushions. In the afternoon Franz was my companion,
carrying a small gun, entrusted to him for the first time.

We took Fangs and Bruno with us, and went slowly along the left bank of the lake, winding our way among
reedy thickets, which frequently turned us aside a considerable distance from the water. The dogs hunted about
in all directions, and raised duck, snipe and heron. These usually flew directly across the lake, so that Franz got
no chance of a shot. He began to get rather impatient, and proposed firing at the black swans we saw sailing
gracefully on the glassy surface of the lake.

Just then a harsh booming sound struck our ears. I paused in wonder as to whence the noise proceeded, while
Franz exclaimed,

`Oh, father! Can that be Swift, our young onager?'

`It cannot possibly be Swift,' said I; adding, after listening attentively a minute or two, `I am inclined to think it
must be the cry of a bittern, a fine handsome bird of the nature of a heron.'

`Oh! may I shoot it, father? But I wonder how a bird can make that roaring noise! One would think it was an ox,
it is more like lowing than braying.'

`The noise creatures make depends more on the construction of the windpipe, its relation to the lungs and the
strength of the muscles which force out the breath, than on their size. As for example, how loud is the song of
the nightingale and the little canary bird. Some people say that the bittern booms with his long bill partly thrust
into the boggy ground, which increases the hollow muffled sound of its very peculiar cry.'

Franz was very anxious that the first trophy of his gun should be so rare a bird as the bittern; the dogs were sent
into the wood, and we waited some distance apart, in readiness to fire.

All at once there was a great rustling in the thicket. Franz fired, and I heard his happy voice calling out: `I've hit
him! I've hit him!'

`What have you hit?' shouted I in return.

`A wild pig,' said he, `but bigger than Fritz's.'

`Aha! I see you remember the agouti! Perhaps it is not a hog at all, but one of our little pigs from the farm. What
will the old sow say to you, Franz?'
I soon joined my boy, and found him in transports of joy over an animal certainly very much like a pig,
although its snout was broad and blunt. It was covered with bristles, had no tail, and in colour was a
yellowish grey.

Examining it carefully and noticing its webbed feet, and its curious teeth, I decided that it must be a capybara, a
water-loving animal of South America, and Franz was overjoyed to find that he had shot 'a new creature', as he

It was difficult to carry it home, but he very sensibly proposed that we should open and clean the carcase, which
would make it lighter. Then, putting it in a game-bag, he carried it till quite tired out; he asked if I thought
Bruno would let him strap it on his back. We found the dog willing to bear the burden, and reached Woodlands
soon afterwards.

There we were surprised to see Ernest surrounded by a number of large rats which lay dead on the ground.

`Where can all these have come from?' exclaimed I. `Have you and your mother been rat-hunting instead of
gathering rice as you intended?'

`We came upon these creatures quite unexpectedly,' he replied. `While in the rice swamp, Knips, who was with
us, sprang away to a kind of long-shaped mound among the reeds, and pounced upon something, which tried to
escape into a hole.

`He chattered and gnashed his teeth, and the creature hissed and squeaked, and running up, I found he had got a
big rat by the tail; he would not let go, and the rat could not turn in the narrow entrance to bite him, but I soon
pulled it out and killed it with my stick.

`The mound was a curious-looking erection, so I broke it open with some difficulty, and in doing this dislodged
quite a dozen of the creatures. Some I killed, but many plunged into the water and escaped.

`On examining their dwelling I found it a vaulted tunnel made of clay and mud, and thickly lined with sedges,
rushes, and water-lily leaves.

`There were other mounds or lodges close by, and seeking an entrance to one I stretched my game-bag across it,
and then hammered on the roof till a whole lot of rats sprang out, several right into the bag. I hit away right and
left, but began to repent of my audacity when I found the whole community swarming about in the wildest
excitement, some escaping, but many stopping in bewilderment, while others actually attacked me.

`It was anything but pleasant, I assure you, and I began to think of Bishop Hatto in the Mouse Tower on the
Rhine. Knips liked it as little as I did, and skipped about desperately to get out of their way, though he now and
then seized a rat by the neck in his teeth.

`Just as I began to shout for help, Juno came dashing through the reeds and water, and made quick work with
the enemy, all flying from her attack.

`My mother had great difficulty in forcing her way through the marsh to the scene of action, but reached me at
last; and we collected all the slain to show you, and for the sake of their skins.'

This account excited my curiosity, and I went to examine the place Ernest described: where I found, to my
surprise, an arrangement much like a beaver dam, though on a small scale, and less complete.

`You have discovered a colony of beaver rats,' said I to Ernest, `so called from their resemblance in skill and
manner of life to that wonderful creature.
`Muskrat, musquash, and ondatra are other names given to them. They have, you see, webbed feet and flattened
tails, and we shall find that they carry two small glands containing the scented substance called musk. The
sooner we strip off the skins the better; they will be useful for making caps.'

We went back to the house, and met Fritz and Jack just returned from their excursion, reporting that no trace of
serpents, great or small, had been met with.

Jack carried in his hat about a dozen eggs; and Fritz had shot a couple of heath fowls, a cock and hen.

We sat down to supper, Franz eager to partake of his capybara. Even he himself made a face at the peculiar
flavour of the meat.

`It is the musk which you taste,' said I; and I described to them the various animals in which this strange liquid
is found; the musk deer, musk ox, crocodile, muskrat of India (also called soudeli, which taints a corked bottle
of wine, if it only runs across it) concluding with an account of the civet, also called civet-cat.

`The civet,' said I, `is a handsome black and white animal, and the perfume obtained from it was formerly
considered a valuable medicine; in the present day it is used chiefly as a scent. This odoriferous substance is
secreted, i.e., formed, in a double glandular pouch near the tail, and the Dutch keep the creature in captivity, so
that it shall afford them a continual supply.

`The method of removing the civet perfume is ingenious. The animal is very quick and elastic in its movements,
and having sharp teeth it is not pleasant to handle. So it is put into a long, narrow cage in which it cannot turn
around, a horn spoon is then introduced, and the perfume, a thick, oily stuff something like butter, is coolly
scraped from the pouch, the plundered civet being then released from strait durance, until the supply is re-

Presently Jack ran for his game-bag, producing some fruit which he had forgotten. Several pale green apples,
quite new to us, excited general attention.

`Why, what are those? Are they good?' I asked.

`I hope so,' said Jack, `but Fritz and I were afraid of eating some awful poison or other, like the manchineel, so
we brought them for the inspection of the learned Master Knips.'

I took one and cut it in two, remarking that it contained a circle of seeds or pips, instead of the stone of the

At that moment Knips slyly came behind me, and snatching up on half, began to munch it with the liveliest
satisfaction, an example which the boys were so eager to follow that a general scramble ensued, and I had
some trouble in securing a couple of the apples for myself and their mother.

I imagined this to be the cinnamon apple of the Antilles.

Everyone seeming wearied by the fatigues of the day, our mattresses and pillows were arranged, and the
inmates of Woodlands betook themselves to repose.

With early light we commenced the next day's journey, directing our course to a point between the sugar-brake
and the Gap, where we had once made a sort of arbour of the branches of trees; as this remained in pretty good
condition, we spread a sailcloth over the top of it, instead of pitching the tent, and made it very comfortable
quarters for the short time I proposed to stay there.
Our object being to search the neighbourhood for traces of the boa constrictor, or any of his kindred, Fritz, Jack,
and Franz went with me to the sugar-cane brake, and we satisfied ourselves that our enemy had not been there.
It was long since we had enjoyed the fresh juice of these canes, and we were refreshing ourselves therewith,
when a loud barking of dogs and loud rustling and rattling through the thicket of canes disturbed our pleasant
occupation, and, as we could see nothing a yard off where we stood, I hurried to the open ground, and with guns
in readiness we awaited what was coming.

In a few minutes a herd of creatures like little pigs issued from the thicket, and made off in single file at a brisk
trot; they were of a uniform grey colour, and showed short sharp tusks.

My trusty double-barrel speedily laid low two of the fugitives which I felt certain to be peccaries; the others
continued to follow the leader in line, scarcely turning aside to pass the dead bodies of their comrades, and
maintaining the same steady pace, although Fritz and Jack also fired and killed several.

I felt certain that these were peccaries, and recollected that an odoriferous gland in the back must be removed
immediately, otherwise the meat will become tainted, and quite unfit to eat.

This operation, with the help of my boys, I accordingly performed at once.

Presently, hearing shots in the direction of the hut where we had left Ernest and his mother, I sent Jack to their
assistance, desiring him to fetch the cart, that the booty might be conveyed to our encampment, employing the
time of his absence in opening and cleaning the animals, thus reducing their weight.

Ernest came back with Jack and the cart, and told us that the procession of peccaries had passed near the hut,
and that he, with Juno's help, had secured three of them.

I was glad to hear this, as I had determined to cure a good supply of hams, and we made haste to load the cart;
the boys adorned it with flowers and green boughs, and with songs of triumph which made the woods ring they
conveyed the valuable supply of game to the hut, where their mother anxiously waited for us.

After dinner we set to work upon our pigs, singeing and scalding off the bristles; I cut out the hams, divided the
flitches, bestowed considerable portions of the carcase on the dogs, and diligently cleansed and salted the meat,
while the boys prepared a shed, where it was to be hung to be cured in the smoke of fires of green wood.

This unexpected business of course detained us in the place for some time. On the second day, when the
smoking-shed was ready, the boys were anxious to cook the smallest porker in the Otaheitean fashion. For this
purpose they dug a hole, in which they burnt a quantity of dry grass, sticks and weeds, heating stones, which
were placed round the sides of the pit.

While the younger boys made ready the oven, Fritz singed and washed his peccary, stuffing it with potatoes,
onions and herbs, and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.

He then sewed up the opening, and enveloped the pig in large leaves to guard it from the ashes and dust of its

The fire no longer blazed, but the embers and stones were glowing hot; the pig was carefully placed in the hole,
covered over with hot ashes, and the whole with earth, so that it looked like a big mole heap.

Dinner was looked forward to with curiosity, as well as appetite; my wife, as usual, distrusting our experiments,
was not sanguine of success, and made ready some plain food as a pis aller.
She was well pleased with the curing-hut, which was roomy enough to hang all our hams and bacon. On a wide
hearth in the middle we kindled a large fire, which was kept constantly smouldering by heaping it with damp
grass and green wood. The hut being closed in above, the smoke filled it, and penetrated the meat thoroughly:
this process it had to undergo for several days.

In a few hours Fritz gave notice that he was going to open his oven. Great excitement prevailed as he removed
the earth, turf, and stones, and a delicious appetizing odour arose from the opening. It was the smell of roast
pork, certainly, but with a flavor of spices which surprised me, until I thought of the leaves in which the food
had been wrapped up.

The peccary was carefully raised, and when a few cinders were picked off, it looked a remarkably well-cooked
dish. Fritz was highly complimented on his success, even by his mother.

The scented leaves were, I thought, those of a tree which I knew to be found in Madagascar, called by the
natives ravensara, or 'good leaf.' It is said to combine the scent of the nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. The
fruit is a species of nut, possessing the scent of the leaves in a more delicate degree, and from it an oil or
essence is distilled, which is highly valued in native cookery.

During the process of curing our large supply of hams and bacon, which occupied several days, we roamed
about the neighbourhood in all directions, finding no trace of the serpent, but making many valuable
acquisitions, among which were some gigantic bamboos from fifty to sixty feet in length, and of proportionate
thickness. These, when cut across near the joints, formed capital casks, tubs, and pots; while the long sharp
thorns, which begirt the stem at intervals, were as strong and useful as iron nails.

One day we made an excursion to the farm at Prospect Hill, and were grievously provoked to find that the
vagabond apes had been there, and wrought terrible mischief, as before at Woodlands.

The animals and poultry were scattered, and everything in the cottage so torn and dirtied, that it was vain to
think of setting things right that day. We therefore very unwillingly left the disorder as we found it, purposing to
devote time to the work afterwards.

When all was in readiness for the prosecution of our journey, we closed and barricaded the hut, in which, for the
present, we left the store of bacon; and arranging our march in the usual patriarchal style, we took our way to
the Gap, the thorough defence of which defile was the main object we had in view.

Our last halting-place being much enclosed by shrubs, bamboos and brushwood, we had during our stay opened
a path through the cane thicket in the direction we were about to travel; this we now found of the greatest
assistance, and the loaded cart passed on without impediment.

The ground was open and tolerably level beyond, so that in a few hours we arrived at the extreme limit of our
coast territory.

We halted on the outskirts of a little wood behind which, to the right, rose the precipitous and frowning cliffs of
the mountain gorge, while to the left flowed the torrent, leaving between it and the rocks the narrow pass we
called the Gap, and passing onward to mingle its waters with the sea.

The wood afforded us pleasant shelter and standing high, and within gunshot of the mouth of the rocky pass, I
resolved to make it our camping-place. We therefore unpacked the cart, and made our usual arrangements for
safety and comfort, not forgetting to examine the wood itself, so as to ascertain whether it harboured any
dangerous animals. Nothing worse than wild cats was discovered. We disturbed several of these creatures in
their pursuit of birds and small game, but they fled at our approach.
By the time dinner was ready we felt much fatigued, and some hours of unusually sultry and oppressive heat
compelled us to rest until towards evening, when returning coolness revived our strength. We pitched the tent,
and then occupied ourselves with preparations for the next day, when it was my intention to penetrate the
country beyond the defile, and make a longer excursion across the savannah, than had yet been undertaken.

All was ready for a start at an early hour; my brave wife consented to remain in camp with Franz as her
companion, while the three elder boys, and all the dogs, except Juno, went with me.

We expected to find it somewhat difficult to make our way through the narrowest part of the pass, which had
been so strongly barricaded and planted with thorny shrubs, but found on the contrary that the fences and walls
were broken down and disarranged. It was thus very evident that the great snake, as well as the herd of
peccaries, had made an entrance here.

This barricade was the first check that had been placed by hand of man upon the wild free will of nature in this
lonely place. With one consent storms, floods, torrents, and the wild beasts of the forest, had set themselves to
destroy it.

We resolved to make the defences doubly strong, being convinced that the position was capable of being
barricaded and fortified so as to resist the invaders we dreaded.

The prospect which opened before us on emerging from the rocky pass was wide, and varied. Swelling hills and
verdant wooded vales were seen on one hand, while a great plain stretched before us, extending from the banks
of the river towards a chain of lofty mountains, whose summits were rendered indistinct in the haze of the

We crossed the stream, which we named East River, filling our flasks with water, and it was well we did so, for
in continuing our journey, we found the soil become more arid and parched than we had expected; in fact we
soon appeared surrounded by a desert.

The boys were astonished at the altered appearance of the country, part of which had been explored when we
met with the buffaloes. I reminded them of the difference of the season; that the expedition had been made
directly after the rains, when vegetation had clothed with transient beauty this region, which, possessing no
source of moisture in itself, had become scathed and bare during the blazing heat of summer.

Our march proceeded slowly, and many were the uncomplimentary remarks made on the `new country'.

It was `Arabia Petrea,' groaned one.

`Desert of Sahara,' sighed another.

`Fit abode for demons,' muttered a third. `Subterranean volcanic fires are raging beneath our feet.'

`Patience, my good fellows!' cried I. `You are too easily discouraged. Look beyond the toilsome way to those
grand mountains whose spurs are already stretching forward to meet us. Who knows what pleasant surprises
await us amid their steep declivities? I, for my part, expect to find water, fresh grass, trees and a lovely resting-

We were all glad to repose beneath the shade of the first overhanging rock we came to, although by pressing
further upwards, we might have attained to a pleasanter spot.

Looking back towards the Gap, we marked the strange contrast of the smiling country bordering the river, and
the dreary, monotonous plain we had traversed.
After gazing on the distant scene, we produced our store of provisions, and were busily engaged, when Knips
(our constant companion) suddenly began to snuff and smell about in a very ridiculous way; finally, with a
shriek which we knew was expressive of pleasure, he set off at full speed, followed by all the dogs, up a sort
of glen behind us.

We left them to their own devices, being far too pleasantly engaged with our refreshments to care much what
fancy the little rogue had got in his head.

When hunger was somewhat appeased, Fritz once more cast his eyes over the expanse of plain before us, and
after looking fixedly for a moment, exclaimed:

`Is it possible that I see a party of horsemen riding at full gallop towards us! Can they be wild Arabs of the

`Arabs, my boy! Certainly not; but take the spy-glass and make them out exactly. We shall have to be on our
guard, whatever they are!'

`I cannot see distinctly enough to be sure,' said he presently, `and imagination supplies the deficiency of sight in
most strange fashion. I could fancy them wild cattle, loaded carts, wandering hay-cocks, in fact almost anything
I like.'

The spy-glass passed from hand to hand; Jack and Ernest agreed in thinking the moving objects were men on
horseback; but when it came to my turn to look, I at once pronounced them to be very large ostriches.

`This is fortunate indeed!' I exclaimed. `We must try to secure one of these magnificent birds; the feathers alone
are worth having.'

`A live ostrich, father! That would be splendid. Why, we might ride upon him!'

As the ostriches approached, we began to consider in what way we should attempt a capture. I sent Fritz and
Jack to recall the dogs, and placed myself with Ernest behind some shrubs which would conceal us from the
birds as they came onwards.

The boys did not rejoin us for some little time; they found Knips and the dogs at a pool of water formed by a
small mountain stream, which the monkey's instinct had detected; his sudden departure was thus accounted for,
and they availed themselves right gladly of his discovery, filling their flasks, and hastily bathing before their

The ostriches continued to come in our direction, varying their pace as though in sport, springing, trotting,
galloping and chasing each other round and round, so that their approach was by no means rapid.

I could now perceive that of the five birds one only was a male, the white plumes of the wings and tail
contrasting finely with the deep glossy black of the neck and body.

The colour of the females being ashen brown, the effect of their white plumes was not so handsome.

`I do not believe we shall have a chance with these birds,' said I, `except by sending Fritz's eagle in pursuit; and
for that we must bide our time, and let them come as near as possible.'

`In what way, then, are ostriches caught by the natives of the African deserts?' inquired Fritz.
`Sometimes by chase on horseback; but their speed is so very great, that even that must be conducted by

`When these birds are pursued, they will run for hours in a wide circle; the hunter gallops after them, but
describes a much smaller circle, and can therefore maintain the pace for a longer time, waiting to make the
attack until the bird is fatigued.

`Among the Bushmen, the hunter sometimes envelops himself in the skin of an ostrich, his legs doing duty for
those of the bird, and his arm managing the head and neck so as to imitate the movements of the bird when
feeding. The enterprising hunter is thus enabled to get among a flock of ostriches, and to shoot them with
arrows one after another.

`When aware of an enemy they defend themselves desperately, using their powerful legs as weapons, always
kicking forwards, and inflicting dreadful injuries on dogs, and even on men if attacked without due precaution.
But let us take up our positions, and keep perfectly still, for the ostriches are at hand!'

We held the dogs concealed as much as possible; the stately birds suddenly perceiving us, paused, hesitated and
appeared uneasy. Yet as no movement was made, they drew a few steps nearer, with outstretched necks,
examining curiously the unwonted spectacle before them.

The dogs became impatient, struggled from our grasp and furiously rushed towards our astonished visitors. In
an instant they turned and fled with the speed of the wind; their feet seemed not to touch the ground, their wings
aiding their marvellously rapid progress.

In a few moments they would have been beyond our reach, but as they turned to fly the eagle was unhooded.
Singling out the male bird the falcon made his fatal swoop, and, piercing the skull, the magnificent creature was
laid low. Before we could reach the spot the dogs had joined the bird of prey, and were fiercely tearing the flesh
and bedabbling the splendid plumes with gore.

This sight grieved us. `What a pity we could not capture this glorious bird alive!' exclaimed Fritz, as we took its
beautiful feathers. `It must, I am sure, have stood more than six feet high, and two of us might have mounted
him at once!'

`In the vast sandy deserts where nothing grows, what can flocks of these birds find to live upon?' inquired

`That would indeed be hard to say, if the deserts were utterly barren and unfruitful,' returned I, `but over these
sandy wastes a beneficent Providence scatters plants of wild melons, which absorb and retain every drop of
moisture, and which quench the thirst as well as satisfy the hunger of the ostriches and other inhabitants of the
wilds. These melons, however, do not constitute his entire diet; he feeds freely on grasses, dates and hard grain,
when he can obtain them.'

`Does the ostrich utter any cry?'

`The voice of the ostrich is a deep hollow rumbling sound, so much resembling the roar of the lion as to be
occasionally mistaken for it. But what does Jack mean by waving his cap, and beckoning in that excited
fashion? What has the boy found, I wonder?'

He ran a little way towards us, shouting: `Eggs, father! Ostriches' eggs! A huge nest-full--do come quickly!' We
all hastened to the spot, and in a slight hollow of the ground, beheld more than twenty eggs, as large as an
infant's head.
The idea of carrying more than two away with us was preposterous, although the boys, forgetting what the
weight would be, seriously contemplated clearing the nest. They were satisfied when a kind of landmark had
been set up, so that if we returned we might easily find the nest.

As each egg weighed about three pounds, the boys soon found the burden considerable, even when tied into a
handkerchief and carried like a basket. To relieve them, I cut a strong elastic heath stick, and suspending an egg
in its sling at each end, laid the bent stick over Jack's shoulder, and like a Dutch dairy-maid with her milkpails,
he stepped merrily along without inconvenience.

We presently reached a marshy place surrounding a little pool evidently fed by the stream which Knips had
discovered. The soft ground was trodden and marked by the footsteps of many different sorts of animals; we
saw tracks of buffaloes, antelopes, onagers or quaggas, but no trace whatever of any kind of serpent: hitherto
our journey insearch of monster reptiles had been signalized by very satisfactory failure.

By this brook we sat down to rest and take some food; Fangs presently disappeared, and Jack calling to his pet
discovered him gnawing at something which he had dug from the marsh.

Taking it for a root of some sort, Jack brought it for my inspection. I dipped it in water to clear off the mud, and
to my surprise found a queer little living creature, no bigger than half an apple, in my hand. It was a small

`A tortoise, I declare!' cried Fritz. `What a long way from the sea. How came it here, I wonder?'

`Perhaps there has been a tortoise-shower,' remarked Ernest. `One reads of frog-showers in the time of the
ancient Romans.'

`Hollo, Professor! You're out for once,' said I. `This is nothing but a mud-tortoise, which lives in wet, marshy
ground and fresh water. They are useful in gardens; for although they like a few lettuce leaves now and then,
they will destroy numbers of snails, grubs, and worms.'

Resuming our journey, we arrived at a charming valley, verdant, fruitful, and shaded by clumps of graceful
trees. It afforded us the greatest delight and refreshment to pass along this cool and lovely vale, which we
agreed to call Glen Verdant.

In the distance we could see herds of antelopes or buffaloes feeding; but as our dogs continually ranged a long
way ahead of us, they were quickly startled, and vanished up one or other of the narrow gorges which opened
out of the valley.

Following the imperceptible windings of the vale, we were surprised, on quitting it for the more open ground, to
find ourselves in country we were already acquainted with, and not far from the Jackal Cave, as we called the
place where Fangs had been captured in cubhood.

On recognizing the spot, Ernest, who was in advance with one of the dogs, hastened towards it. We lost sight of
him for a few minutes, and then arose a cry of terror, violent barking and deep, surly growls.
As we rushed forward, Ernest met us, looking white as ashes, and calling out:

`A bear, a bear, father! He is coming after me!'

The boy clung to me in mortal fear. I felt his whole frame quivering.

`Courage, my son!' cried I, disengaging myself from his grasp. `We must prepare for instant defence!'
The dogs dashed forward to join the fray, whatever it was; and not long were we in doubt. To my no small
consternation, an enormous bear made his appearance, quickly followed by another.

With levelled guns, my brave Fritz and I advanced slowly to meet them. Jack was also ready to fire, but the
shock had so unnerved Ernest that he fairly took to his heels. We fired together, one at each bear; but though hit,
the monsters were unfortunately only wounded. We found it most difficult to take aim, as the dogs beset them
on all sides.

However, they were much disabled, one having the lower jaw broken, and the other, with a bullet in its
shoulder, was effectually lamed. The dogs, perceiving their advantage, pressed more closely round their foes,
who yet defended themselves furiously with frightful yells of pain and rage.

Such was the confusion and perpetual movement of the struggle, that I dared not fire again, seeing that even
slightly wounding one of our gallant hounds would instantly place him in the power of the raging bears.

Watching our opportunity, we suddenly advanced with loaded pistols to within a very few paces of the animals,
and firing, both fell dead, one shot through the head, the other, in the act of rearing to spring on Fritz, received
his charge in its heart.

`Thank Heaven!' cried I, as with dull groans the brutes sank to the ground. `We have escaped the greatest peril
we have yet encountered!'

The dogs continued to tear and worry the fallen foe, as though unwilling to trust the appearance of death. With
feelings somewhat akin, I drew my hunting-knife, and made assurance doubly sure.

Seeing all safe, Jack raised a shout of victory, that poor Ernest might gain courage to approach the scene of
conflict, which at last he did, and joined us in examining the dangerous animals, as they lay motionless before

Every point was full of interest, their wounds, their sharp teeth, their mighty claws, the extraordinary strength of
neck and shoulder,
all were remarked and commented on, and observing that the shaded brown hair was tipped with glossy white, I
thought that these might be the silver bears mentioned in Captain Clarke's journey to the north-west coasts of

`Well, my lads,' said I, `if we have failed to catch sight of serpents, we have at least made good riddance of
some other bad rubbish! These fellows would one day have worked us woe, or I am much mistaken. What's to
be done next?'

`Why, skin them, to be sure,' said Fritz. `We shall have a couple of splendid bear-skin rugs.'

As this process would take time and evening drew on, we dragged the huge carcases into their den, to await our
return, concealing them with boughs of trees and fencing the entrance as well as we could. The ostrich eggs we
also left behind us, hidden in a sandy hole.

By sunset we reached the tent, and joyfully rejoined my wife and Franz, right glad to find a hearty meal
prepared for us, as well as a large heap of brushwood for the watch-fire.

When a full account of our adventures had been given, with a minute and special description of the bear-fight,
my wife related what she had done during our absence. She and Franz had made their way through the wood up
to the rocks behind it, and discovered a bed of pure white clay, which it seemed to her might be used for making
porcelain. Then she had contrived a drinking-trough for the cattle out of a split bamboo.
She had arranged a hearth in a sheltered place by building up large stones, cemented with the white clay; and,
finally, she had cut a quantity of canes and brought them, on the cart, to be in readiness for the building we had
in hand.

I praised the thoughtful diligence which had effected so much that was of real and definite use. In order to try
the clay I put some balls of it in the fire now kindled to burn during the night, and we then betook ourselves to
rest under shelter of our tent.

I awoke at dawn and aroused my little party. My first idea was to examine the clay balls, which I found baked
hard and finely glazed, but too much melted down by the heat--a fault which, seeing the excellent quality of the
clay, I knew it would be well worthwhile to remedy.

After breakfast, and our accustomed devotions, we harnessed the cart, and took the way to the bears' den. Fritz
headed the party, and, coming in sight of the entrance to the cave, called out softly: `Make haste and you will
see a whole crowd of wild turkeys, who seem to have come to attend the funeral obsequies of their respected
friend and neighbour, Bruin, here. But there appears to be a jealous watcher who is unwilling to admit the
visitors to the bed of state!'

The Watcher, as Fritz called him, was an immensely large bird, with a sort of comb on his head, and a loose
fleshy skin hanging from beneath the beak. Part of the neck was bare, wrinkled and purplish-red, while around
it, resting on the shoulders, was a downy collar of soft white feathers. The plumage was greyish-brown, marked
here and there with white patches; the feet appeared to be armed with strong claws. This great bird guarded the
entrance to the cave, occasionally retiring into it himself for a few minutes; but as soon as the other birds came
pressing in after him, he hurried out again and they were forced to retire.

We stopped to observe this curious scene, and were startled suddenly by a mighty rush of wings in the air above
us. We looked up; at the same moment Fritz fired, and an enormous bird fell heavily head foremost on the
rocks, by which its neck was broken, while blood flowed from a wound in the breast.

We had been holding back the dogs, but they, with Fritz, now rushed towards the cave, the birds rising around
them and departing with heavy ungainly flight, leaving only Fritz's prize, and one of the other birds, killed by
the large one in its fall.

With the utmost caution I entered the cave, and rejoiced to find that the tongue and eyes only of the bears had
been devoured: a little later and we should have had the handsome skins pecked and torn to rags, and all chance
of steaks and bears'-paws gone.

On measuring the wings of the large bird from tip to tip, I found the length exceeded eleven feet, and concluded
it to be a condor; it was evidently the mate of the `Watcher', as Fritz called the first we saw.

To work we now went on the bears, and no slight affair we found it to skin and cut them up, but by dint of
perseverance we at last succeeded in our object.

Determining to smoke the meat on the spot, we cut magnificent hams, and took off the rest of the meat in slices
after the manner of the buccaneers in the West Indies, preserving the paws entire to be cooked as a delicacy, and
obtaining from the two bears together a prodigious supply of lard, which my wife gladly undertook to melt and
prepare for keeping.

The bones and offal we drew to some distance with the help of our cattle, and made the birds of the air most
welcome to feast upon it. This, with the assistance of all sorts of insects, they did so effectually that before we
left the place the skulls were picked perfectly clean, the sun had dried them, and they were ready for us to carry
off to our museum.

The skins had to be very carefully scraped, washed, salted, cleansed with ashes and dried, which occupied fully
two days.

I was lamenting our distance from the rascusara tree, the leaves of which had flavoured our roast peccary so
nicely, when I observed among the brushwood which the boys had brought from the thickets around us, a
climbing plant, whose leaves had a very strong smell; the stem resembled a vine, and the fruit grew in clusters
like currants. Some were red, and some of a green colour, which I supposed to denote various degrees of
openess. They were hard, and the outer skin was quite thin. I recognized in this the pepper plant, a discovery
particularly agreeable at this moment.

The boys soon gathered a large supply; the red berries were soaked in salt and water for several days, then
washed and rubbed, and finally, becoming perfectly white, were dried in the sun. The treatment of the green
berries was simple; they were merely exposed to the sun's heat for a day or two, and then stored: in this way we
obtained enough, both of black and white pepper, to last us a very long time.

I took also a number of young plants, that we might have pepper growing at Rockburg and our various
settlements. Some roots of another plant were also taken, which, from the pods, appeared to be a kind of

We were glad of this occupation during the tedious business of smoking the bears' meat, and availed ourselves
of the leisure time by also preparing for stuffing the condor and the turkey buzzard, urubu or black vulture--for I
could not determine to which species the smaller bird belonged.

The four boys at length became so weary of inaction, that I determined to let them make an excursion alone on
the savannah.

Three of them received this permission with eager delight, but Ernest said he would prefer to remain with us; to
which, as the expedition was to be entirely one of pleasure, I could make no objection.

Little Franz, on the other hand, whom I would willingly have kept with us, was wild to go with his brothers, and
I was obliged to consent, as I had made the proposal open to all, and could not draw back.

In the highest spirits they ran to bring their steeds (as we were fain to call the cattle they rode) from their
pasturage at a short distance. Speedily were they saddled, bridled and mounted--the three lads were ready to be

It was my wish that our sons should cultivate a habit of bold independence, for well I knew that it might be the
will of God to deprive them easily of their parents; when, without an enterprising spirit of self-reliance, their
position would be truly miserable.

My gallant Fritz possessed this desirable quality in no small degree, and to him I committed the care of his
young brothers, charging them to look up to and obey him as their leader.

They were well armed, well mounted, had a couple of good dogs; and, with a hearty `God speed and bless you,
my boys!' I let them depart.

We who remained behind passed the day in a variety of useful occupations.
The bears' meat, which was being cured in a smoking-shed such as that we set up for the peccary hams, required
a good deal of attention from my wife. Ernest had a fancy for making ornamental cups from the ostrich eggs,
while I investigated the interior of the cave.

I found the inner wall to consist of a kind of talc, mingled with threads of asbestos, and also indications of mica.
Examining further, I detached a large block, and found to my joy that I could split it into clear transparent
sheets, which would serve admirably for window panes.

My wife saw this substitute for glass with unfeigned satisfaction, declaring, that although she would not
complain, yet the want of glass for windows had been a downright trouble to her.
                                               Chapter 13
As evening approached, the bears' paws, which were stewing for supper, sent forth savoury odours; and we sat
talking round the fire, while listening anxiously for sounds heralding the return of our young explorers.

At last the tramp and beat of hoofs struck our ears; the little troop appeared, crossing the open ground before us
at a sharp trot, and a shrill ringing cheer greeted us as we rose and went to meet them.

They sprang from their saddles, the animals were set at liberty to refresh themselves, and the riders eagerly
came to exhibit their acquisitions and give an account of themselves.

Funny figures they cut! Franz and Jack had each a young kid slung on his back, so that the four legs, tied
together, stuck out under their chins.

Fritz's game-bag looked remarkably queer--round lumps, sharp points, and an occasional movement seemed to
indicate a living creature or creatures within.

`Hurrah, for the chase, father!' cried Jack. `Nothing like real hunting after all. And just to see how Storm and
Grumble go along over a grassy plain! It is perfectly splendid! We soon tired out the little antelopes, and were
able to catch them.'

`Yes, father,' said Franz, `and Fritz has two angora rabbits in his bag, and we wanted to bring you some honey.
Only think! Such a clever bird--a cuckoo, showed us where it was!'

`My brothers forget the chief thing,' said Fritz. `We have driven a little herd of antelopes right through the Gap
into our territory; and there they are, all ready for us to hunt when we like--or to catch and tame!'

`Well done!' cried I. `Here is indeed a list of achievements. But to your mother and me, the chief thing of all, is
God's goodness in bringing you safe back to us. Now, let us hear the whole story that we may have a definite
idea of your performances.'

`We had a splendid ride,' said Fritz, `down Glen Verdant, and away to the defile through our Rocky Barrier, and
the morning was so cool and fresh that our steeds galloped along, nearly the whole way, at the top of their
speed. When we had passed through the Gap we moderated our furious pace and kept our eyes open on the
look-out for game; we then trotted slowly to the top of a grassy hill, from whose summit we saw two herds of
animals, whether antelopes, goats or gazelles, we did not know, grazing by the side of the stream below us.

`We were about to gallop down and try to get a shot at them, when it struck me that it would be wiser to try and
drive the whole herd through the Gap into our own domain, where they would be shut up, as it were, in a park,
free and yet within reach.

`Down the hill we rode as hard as we could go, formed in a semicircle behind the larger herd of magnificent
antelopes--and, aided by the dogs, with shouts and cries drove them along the stream towards the Gap; as we
came near the opening they appeared inclined to halt and turn like sheep about to be driven into the butcher's
yard; and it was all we could do to prevent them from bolting past us; but, at length, one made a rush at the
opening and, the rest following, they were soon all on the other side of the frontier and inhabitants of New

`Capital,' I said, `capital, my boy! But I don't see what is to make them remain inhabitants of our domain, or to
prevent them from returning through the Gap whenever they feel inclined.'
`Stop, father,' he replied, `you interrupted me too soon; we thought of that possibility too, and provided against
it. We stretched a long line right across the defile and strung on it feathers and rags and all sorts of other things,
which danced and fluttered in the wind, and looked so strange that I am perfectly certain that the herd will never
attempt to pass it; in fact, Levaillant, from whom I learnt the trick, says in his Voyage au Cap de Bonne
Esperance that the Hottentots make use of the method for penning in the antelopes they have caught in the

`Well done,' said I, `I am glad to see that you remember what you have read. The antelopes are welcome to New
Switzerland, but, my boy,' I added, `I cannot say the same for the rabbits you have there; they increase so
rapidly that if you establish a colony of the little wretches your next difficulty will be to get rid of them.'

`True,' he replied, `but my idea was to place them upon Whale Island, where they would find abundant food,
and at the same time in no way trouble us. May I not establish a warren there? It would be so useful. Do you
know my eagle caught these pretty little fellows for me? I saw a number of them running about and so
unhooded him, and in a few minutes he brought me three--one dead, with whose body I rewarded him, and
these two here, unhurt.'

`Now, father,' said Jack, interrupting him, `do listen to me and hear my story, or else Fritz will begin upon my
adventures and tire you out with his rigmarole descriptions.'

`Certainly, Jack,' I said, `I am quite ready to listen to you. First and foremostly, how did you bring down those
beautiful little animals you have there?'

`Oh, we galloped them down. The dogs sniffed about in the grass while Fritz was away after the rabbits, out
popped these little fawns and away they went bounding and skipping, at the rate of thirty miles an hour, with
Storm, Grumble and the dogs at their heels. In about a quarter of an hour we had left the dogs behind and were
close upon our prey. Down went the little creatures in the grass, and, overcome with terror and fatigue, were at
our mercy. So we shouted to Fritz, and--'

`My dear boy,' said I, `according to your statement, Fritz must have been seven miles and a half off.'

`Oh, well, father, perhaps we did not ride for quite a quarter of an hour, and, of course, I can't say exactly how
fast we were going; and then, you see, the fawns did not run in a straight line; at any rate Fritz heard us, and he
and Franz and I leashed the legs of the pretty creatures, and then we mounted again, and presently saw a wretch
of a cuckoo, who led us ever so far out of our course by cuckooing and making faces at us and then hopping
away. Franz declared it must be an enchanted princess, and so I thought I would rid it of its spell; but Fritz
stopped me shooting it, and said it was a "Honey Indicator", and that it was leading us probably to a bees' byke,
so we spared its life, and presently, sure enough, it stopped close by a bees' nest in a hollow tree.

`This was capital, we thought, and, as we were in a great hurry to taste the honey, I threw in a lot of lighted
lucifer matches, but somehow it did not kill the bees at all, but only made them awfully angry, and they flew out
in a body and stung me all over. I rushed to Storm and sprang on his back, but, though I galloped away for bare
life, it was an age before I got rid of the little wretches, and now my face is in a perfect fever. I think I will get
mother to bathe it for me,' and off rushed the noisy boy, leaving Fritz and me to see to the fawns and examine
the rabbits.

With these latter I determined to do as Fritz proposed, namely, to colonize Whale Island with them. I was all the
more willing to do this because I had been considering the advisability of establishing on that island a fortress to
which we might retreat in any extreme danger, and where we should be very thankful, in case of such a retreat,
to possess means of obtaining a constant supply of animal food.
Having ministered to the wants of the antelopes, I tried to interest the boys in my discovery of the block of talc,
but just then their mother summoned us to dinner.

The principal dish in this meal consisted of the bears' paws—most savoury-smelling delicacies, so tempting that
their close resemblance to human hands, and even the roguish `Fee-fo-fum' from Jack, did not prevent a single
member of the family from enjoying them most heartily.

Supper over, we lit our watch-fire, retired to our tent and slept soundly.

We had been working very diligently; the bears' meat was smoked, the fat melted down and stored, and a large
supply of bamboos collected. But I wished to make yet another excursion, and at early dawn I aroused the boys.

Fritz mounted the mule, I rode Lightfoot, Jack and Franz took their usual steeds and, with the two dogs, we
galloped off--first to visit the euphorbia to collect the gum, and then to discover whether the ostrich had
deserted her eggs in the sand.

Ernest watched us depart without the slightest look or sigh of regret, and returned to the tent to assist his mother
and study his books.

Our steeds carried us down the Green Valley at a rapid rate, and we followed the direction we had pursued on
our former expedition. We soon reached Turtle Marsh, and then, filling our water-flasks, we arrived at the rising
ground where Fritz discovered the mounted Arabs.

As Jack and Franz wanted a gallop, I allowed them to press forward, while Fritz and I visited the euphorbia
trees. A quantity of the red gum had exuded from the incisions I had made, and as this had coagulated in the
sun, I rolled it into little balls and stored it in a bamboo jar I had brought with me for the purpose.

As we rode after the boys, who were some way ahead, Fritz remarked, `Did you not tell me that the juice of that
tree was poisonous, father; why have you collected such a quantity?'

`I did indeed say so,' I replied, `it is a most deadly poison. The inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope use it to
poison the springs where wild animals assemble to quench their thirst; and they thus slaughter an immense
number of the creatures for the sake of their hides. Iintend, however, to use it to destroy the apes should they
again commit depredations, and also in preparing the skins of animals to protect them from the attacks of

The two boys were still at some distance from us, when suddenly four magnificent ostriches rose from the sand
where they had been sitting.

Jack and Franz perceived them, and with a great shout, drove them towards us. In front ran a splendid male bird,
his feathers of shining black, and his great tail plume waving behind. Three females of an ashen grey colour
followed him. They approached us with incredible swiftness, and were within gun-shot before they perceived
us. Fritz had had the forethought to bind up the beak of his eagle so that, should he bring down an ostrich, he
might be unable to injure it.

He now threw up the falcon which, towering upwards, swooped down upon the head of the foremost bird, and
so confused and alarmed him, that he could not defend himself nor continue his flight. So greatly was his speed
checked that Jack overtook him, and hurling his lasso, enfolded his wings and legs in its deadly coils and
rought him to the ground. The other ostriches were almost out of sight, so leaving them to their own devices we
leaped from our steeds and attempted to approach the captured bird. He struggled fearfully, and kicked with suc
violence right and left, that I almost despaired of getting him home alive.
It occurred to me, however, that if we could cover his eyes, his fury might be subdued. I instantly acted upon
this idea, and flung over his head my coat and hunting bag, which effectually shut out the light.

No sooner had I done this than his struggles ceased, and we were able to approach. We first secured round his
body a broad strip of sealskin, on each side of which I fastened a stout piece of cord, that I might be able to lead
him easily. Then, fastening another cord in a loop round his legs that he might be prevented from breaking into
a gallop, we released him from the coils of the lasso.

`Do you know,' said I to the boys, `how the natives of India secure a newly captured elephant?'

`Oh, yes!' said Fritz. `They fasten him between two tame elephants. We'll do that to this fine fellow, and tame
him double quick.'

`The only difficulty will be,' remarked Jack, `that we have no tame ostriches. However, I daresay Storm and
Grumble will have no objection to perform their part, and it will puzzle even this great monster to run away
with them.'

So we at once began operations. Storm and Grumble were led up on either side of the recumbent ostrich, and
the cords secured to their girths. Jack and Franz, each armed with a stout whip, mounted their respective steeds,
the wrappers were removed from the bird's eyes, and we stood by to watch what would next occur.

For some moments after the return of his sight he lay perfectly still, then he arose with a bound and, not aware
of the cords which hampered him, attempted to dash forwards. The thongs were stout, and he was brought to his
knees. A fruitless struggle ensued, and then at length seeming to accommodate himself to circumstances, he set
off at a sharp trot, his guards making the air re-echo with their merry shouts. These cries stimulated the ostrich
to yet further exertions, but he was at length brought to a stand by the determined refusal of his four-footed
companions to continue such a race across loose sand.

The boys having enjoyed the long run, I told them to walk with the prisoner slowly home, while Fritz and I
returned to examine the ostrich's nest. The eggs were quite warm, and I was certain that the mother had quite
recently left the nest; leaving about half, I packed the rest of the eggs in a large bag I had brought for the
purpose, and slung it carefully on the saddle before me.

We soon caught up our advance guard, and without other notable incident reached our tent.

Astonishment and dismay were depicted on the face of my wife as we approached.

`My dear husband,' she exclaimed, `do you think our provisions so abundant that you must scour the deserts to
find some great beast to assist us to devour them? You must discover an iron mine next, for iron is what
ostriches chiefly live on, is it not?

`Oh! I do wish you would be content with the menagerie you have already collected, instead of bringing in a
specimen of every beast you come across. And this is such a useless monster!'

`Useless! Mother,' exclaimed Jack, `you would not say so had you seen him run; why he will be the fleetest
courser in our stables. I am going to make a saddle and bridle for him, and in future he shall be my only steed.
Then as for his appetite, father declares it is most delicate, he only wants a little fruit and grass, and a few stones
and tenpenny nails to help his digestion.'

The way in which Jack assumed the proprietorship of our new prize seemed to strike his brothers as rather cool,
and there was instantly a cry raised on the subject.
`Very well,' said Jack, `let us each take possession of the part of the ostrich we captured. Your bird, Fritz, seized
the head; keep that; father shall have the body, I'll have the legs, and Franz a couple of feathers from the tail.'

`Come, come,' said I, `I think that Jack has a very good right to the ostrich, seeing that he brought it to the
ground, and if he succeeds in taming it and converting it into a saddle-horse it shall be his. From this time,
therefore, he is responsible for its training.'

The day was now too far advanced to allow us to think of setting out for Rockburg, so we fastened up the
ostrich between two trees, and devoted the remainder of the evening to making preparations for our departure.

At early dawn our picturesque caravan was moving homewards. The ostrich continued so refractory that we
were obliged to make him again march between Storm and Grumble, and as these gallant steeds were thus
employed, the cow was harnessed to the cart, laden with our treasures. Room was left in the cart for my wife,
Jack and Franz mounted Storm and Grumble, I rode Lightfoot, and Fritz brought up the rear on Swift. At the
mouth of the Gap we called a halt, and replaced the cord the boys had strung with ostrich feathers by a stout
palisade of bamboos. I also took the opportunity of collecting a store of pipe-clay, as I intended during the
winter months, which were close at hand, to try my hand at china making.

When we reached the sugar-cane grove, we again stopped to collect the peccary hams we had left to be smoked;
and my wife begged me to gather some seeds of an aromatic plant which grew in the neighbourhood, and which
had the scent of vanilla. I obtained a good supply, and we moved forward towards Woodlands, where we
intended to rest for the night, after our long and fatiguing march.

Our tent was pitched, and on our beds of cotton we slept soundly. Next morning early we examined our
farmyard, which appeared in a most prosperous and flourishing condition. The sight of all these domestic
animals made us long even more than ever for our home at Rockburg, and we determined to hasten thither with
all possible speed.

The number of our pigs, goats and poultry had greatly increased since we had last visited our colony; and some
of these, two fine broods of chickens especially, my wife wished to take back with her.

We found that the herd of antelopes which Fritz and Jack had driven through the Gap, had taken up their abode
in the neighbourhood, and several times we saw the beautiful animals browsing amongst the trees.

While at the farm, we repaired both the animals' stalls, and our dwelling-room, that the former might be more
secure against the attacks of wild beasts, and the latter fitted for our accommodation when we should visit the

Everything at length being satisfactorily arranged, we again retired to rest, and early next morning completed
our journey to Rockburg.

By midday we were once more settled at home. Windows and doors were thrown open to admit fresh air; the
animals established in their stalls; and the cart's miscellaneous cargo discharged and arranged.

As much time as I could spare, I devoted to the ostrich, whom we fastened, for the present, between two
bamboo posts in front of our dwelling.

I then turned my attention to the eggs we had brought, and which I determined to hatch, if possible by artificial
heat. For this purpose I arranged a stove, which I maintained at a uniform temperature, and on it I placed the
eggs carefully wrapped in cotton wool.
Next morning Fritz and I went off in the boat first to Whale Island, there to establish our colonists, the angora
rabbits, and then to Shark Island, where we placed the dainty little antelopes.

Having made them happy with their liberty and abundance of food, we returned as quickly as possible to cure
the bears' skins, and add the provisions we had brought to the stores lying in our cellar.

As we returned, we caught up Jack, making his way in great glee towards Rockburg. He was carrying, in a
basket, an immense eel, which he and Ernest had secured.

Ernest had set, on the previous night, a couple of lines; one had been dragged away, but on the other they found
this splendid fellow.

It proved delicious. Half was prepared for dinner, and the other half salted and stowed away.

We now, for a short time, again turned our attention to our duties about the house.

Thinking that the verandah would be greatly improved by some creepers, I sowed round the foot of each
bamboo pillar, vanilla, and pepper-seed, as well as that of other creeping plants, which would not only give the
house a pleasanter aspect, but also afford us shade during the summer months.

I constructed a couple of hen-coops too, for the hens and their little chicks which we had brought from
Woodlands, for I knew that if I left them unprotected, the inquisitive dispositions of Knips and Fangs might
induce them to make anatomical experiments which would be detrimental to the welfare of the youngsters.

Ernest's rat-skins were voted a nuisance within doors, and were tied together and hung up outside; so powerful
was the odour they emitted, that even then Jack would pretend to faint every time he passed near them.

The museum received its additions: the condor and vulture were placed there, to be stuffed when we should find
time during the rainy season. The mica and asbestos, too, were brought in for the present, not to lie there idle,
but to wait until I could use them as I intended, for china and lamp-wicks.

Having occupied two days in this way, we turned our attention to other duties: the cultivation of a wheat, barley
and maize field, the management of the ostrich's eggs, and the taming of the captives.

As agriculture was, though the least to our taste, the most important of these several duties, we set about it first.
The animals drew the plough, but the digging and hoeing taxed our powers of endurance to the utmost. We
worked two hours in the morning and two in the evening. Fully did we realize the words of Scripture: `In the
sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.'

In the interval we devoted our attention to the ostrich. But our efforts on behalf of his education seemed all in
vain. He appeared as untameable as ever. I determined, therefore, to adopt the plan which had subdued the
refractory eagle.

The effect of the tobacco fumes almost alarmed me. The ostrich sank to the ground and lay motionless. Slowly,
at length, he arose, and paced up and down between the bamboo posts. He was subdued, but to my dismay
resolutely refused all food. I feared he would die; for three days he pined, growing weaker and weaker each day.

`Food he must have!' cried I. `Food he must have!'

My wife determined to attempt an experiment. She prepared balls of maize flour, mixed with butter. One of
these she placed within the bird's beak. He swallowed it, and stretched out his long neck, looking inquiringly for
a second mouthful. A second, third, and fourth ball followed the first. His appetite returned, and his strength
came again.

All the wild nature of the bird had gone, and I saw with delight that we might begin his education as soon as we
chose. Rice, guavas, maize and corn he ate readily--`washing it down', as Jack expressed it, with small pebbles,
to the great surprise of Franz, to whom I explained that the ostrich was merely following the instinct common to
all birds; that he required these pebbles to digest his food, just as smaller birds require gravel.

After a month of careful training, our captive would trot, gallop, obey the sound of our voice, feed from our
hand; and, in fact, showed himself perfectly docile. Now our ingenuity was taxed to the utmost. How were we
to saddle and bridle a bird? First, for a bit for his beak. Vague ideas passed through my mind, but every one I
was obliged to reject. A plan at length occurred to me. I recollected the effect of light and its absence upon the
ostrich, how his movements were checked by sudden darkness, and how, with the light, power returned to his

I immediately constructed a leathern hood, to reach from the neck to the beak, cutting holes in it for the eyes
and ears. Over the eyes-holes I contrived square flaps or blinkers, which were so arranged with whalebone
springs that they closed tightly of themselves. The reins were connected with these blinkers, so that the flaps
might be raised or allowed to close at the rider's pleasure.

When both blinkers were open, the ostrich would gallop straight ahead; close his right eye and he turned to the
left, close his left and he turned to the right, shut both and he stood stock still.

I was justly proud of my contrivance, but, before I could really test its utility, I was obliged to make a saddle.
After several failures, I succeeded in manufacturing one to my liking and in properly securing it; it was
something like an old-fashioned trooper's saddle, peaked before and behind--for my great fear was lest the boys
should fall.
This curious-looking contrivance I placed upon the shoulders as near the neck as possible, and secured it with
strong girths round the wings and across the breast, to avoid all possibility of the saddle slipping down the bird's
sloping back.

I soon saw that my plan would succeed, though skill and considerable practise was necessary in the use of my
patent bridle. It was difficult to remember that to check the courser's speed it was necessary to slacken rein, and
that the tighter the reins were drawn, the faster he would fly. We at length, however, all learned to manage
master Hurricane, and the distance between Rockburg and Falconhurst was traversed in an almost incredibly
short space of time. The marvellous speed of the bird again revived the dispute as to the ownership, and I
was obliged to interfere.

`Jack shall retain the ostrich,' said I, `for it is most suited to him; he is a lighter weight than either of you his
elder brothers, and Franz is not yet strong enough to manage such a fleet courser. But he is so far to be
considered common property, that all may practise on him occasionally; and, in a case of necessity, anyone may
mount him.'

Our field-work was by this time over. The land had been ploughed and sown with wheat, barley, and maize. On
the other side of Jackal River we had planted potatoes and cassava roots, and all sorts of other seeds had been
carefully sown.

We had not neglected the ostrich's eggs, and one day Fritz introduced me with great glee to three little ostriches.
But alas, the little creatures were not destined to enjoy life for long. One died almost as soon as it was hatched,
and the others, after tottering about on their stilt-like legs for a few days, followed its example.
I now found time to turn my attention to the bears' skins, which required preparation before they would be fit
for use as leather. They had been salted and dried, and now required tanning. I had no tan, however. This was
unfortunate; but not to be deterred from my purpose, I determined to use a mixture of honey and water in its

The experiment proved successful. When the skins were dried they remained flexible and free from smell, while
the fur was soft and glossy.

This was not the only result of the experiment, for the honey-water which I boiled appeared so clear and
tempting, that it struck me that I might prepare from it an excellent drink. I put by some of the liquid before
making use of it as tan, and reboiled it with nutmeg and cinnamon. The preparation, which much resembled
English mead, was pronounced delicious, and my wife begged me to brew a large supply. As our cellar was
now well stocked with provisions for the winter, and our other preparations were completed, I was able to turn
my attention to details of lesser importance.

The boys had been clamouring for hats, and as my success in so many trades had surprised me, I agreed to turn
hatter for the nonce. With the rat-skins and a solution of india-rubber, I produced a kind of felt, which I dyed a
brilliant red with cochineal, and stretching this on a wooden block I had prepared, I passed over it a hot iron, to
smooth the nap, and by next morning had the satisfaction of presenting to my wife a neat little red Swiss cap, to
be lined and finished by her for one of the boys.

My wife admired the production immensely, and lining it with silk, added yet more to its gay appearance, by
adorning it with ribbons and ostrich feathers, and finally placed it upon the head of little Franz.

So delighted was everyone with the hat, that all were eager to be similarly provided, and begged me to
manufacture more. I readily agreed to do so, as soon as they should furnish me with the necessary materials, and
advised them to make half a dozen rat-traps, that they might secure the water rats with which the stream
bounded, and whose rich glossy fur would serve admirably for felt.

Every fifth animal that they brought me I told them should be mine, that I might obtain material for a hat for
myself and their mother. The boys at once agreed to this arrangement, and began the manufacture of the traps,
which were all so made that they should kill the rats at once, for I could not bear the idea of animals being
trtured or imprisoned.

While they were thus engaged I applied myself to the manufacture of porcelain. I first cleaned the pipe-clay and
talc from all foreign substances, and made them ready to be beaten down with water into a soft mass, and then
prepared my moulds of gypsum plaster. These preparations were at length made, and the moulds received a thin
layer of the porcelain material. When this was partly baked, I sprinkled over it a powder of coloured glass beads
which I had crushed, and which looked very pretty in patterns upon the transparent porcelain.

Some of my china vessels cracked with the heat of the stove, some were very ill-shaped; but, after many
failures, I succeeded in producing a set of white cups and saucers, a cream-jug, a sugar-basin, and half a
dozen small plates.

I must allow that my china was far from perfect; the shape of some of the vessels was faulty, and none were
really transparent; nevertheless, the general appearance gave great satisfaction, and when the plates were filled
with rosy and golden fruit resting on green leaves, and fragrant tea filled the cups, it greatly added to the
appearance of the table.
                                               Chapter 14
Scarcely had I completed my pottery, when great black clouds and terrific storms heralded the approach of
another winter. The rainy season having set in, we were compelled to give up our daily excursions.

Even in the spacious house which we now occupied, and with our varied and interesting employments, we yet
found the time dragging heavily. The spirits of all were depressed, and even occasional rapid rides, during a
partial cessation of the rain, failed permanently to arouse them. Fritz, as well as I, had perceived this, and he
said to me:

`Why, father, should we not make a canoe, something swifter and more manageable than those vessels we as
yet possess? I often long for a light skiff, in which I might skim over the surface of the water.' The idea
delighted all hands, but my wife, who was never happy when we were on the sea, declared that our chances of
drowning were, with the pinnace and canoe, already sufficiently great, and that there was not the slightest
necessity for our adding to these chances by constructing another craft which would tempt us out upon the
perfidious element.

Her fears were, however, speedily allayed, for I assured her that the boat I intended to construct should be no
flimsy cockleshell, but as safe and stout a craft as ever floated upon the sea. The Greenlander's cajack I intended
to be my model, and I resolved not only to occupy the children, but also to produce a strong and serviceable
canoe—a masterpiece of art.

The boys were interested, and the boat-building was soon in operation. We constructed the skeleton of
whalebone, using split bamboo canes to strengthen the sides and also to form the deck, which extended the
whole length of the boat, leaving merely a square hole in which the occupant of the canoe might sit.

The work engrossed our attention most entirely, and by the time it was complete the rain had passed away and
the glorious sun again shone brightly forth.

Our front door was just wide enough to admit of the egress of our boat, and we completed her construction in
the open air. We quickly cased the sides and deck with seal-skin, making all the seams thoroughly watertight
with caoutchouc.

The cajack was indeed a curious-looking craft, yet so light that she might be lifted easily with one hand, and
when at length we launched her she bounded upon the water like an india-rubber ball. Fritz was unanimously
voted her rightful owner, but before his mother would hear of his entering the frail-looking skiff she declared
that she must contrive a swimming-dress, so that `should his boat receive a puncture from a sharp rock or the
dorsal fin of a fish and collapse, he might yet have a chance of saving his life'.

Though I did not consider the cajack quite the soap bubble my wife imagined it, I yet willingly agreed to assist
her in the construction of the dress.

The garment we produced was most curious in appearance, and I must own that I doubted its efficiency. It was
like a double waistcoat, made of linen prepared with a solution of india-rubber, the seams being likewise coated
with caoutchouc, and the whole rendered perfectly airtight. We so arranged it that one little hole was left, by
means of which air could be forced into the space between the outer covering and the lining, and the dress

Meanwhile I perceived with pleasure the rapid vegetation the climate was producing. The seeds we had
scattered had germinated, and were now promising magnificent crops. The verandah, too, was looking pleasant
with its gay and sweet-scented creepers, which were already aspiring to the summit of the pillars. The air was
full of birds, the earth seemed teeming with life.

The dress was at length completed and Fritz, one fine afternoon, offered publicly to prove it. We all assembled
on the beach, the boy gravely donned and inflated the garment, and amidst roars of laughter from his brothers,
entered the water. Quickly and easily he paddled himself across the bay towards Shark Island, whither we
followed in one of our boats.

The experiment was most successful, and Ernest, Jack and Franz, in spite of their laughter at their brother's
garment, begged their mother to make for each of them a similar dress.

While on the island we paid a visit to the colonists whom we had established there the previous autumn. All
were well; we could perceive by the footprints that the antelopes had discovered and made use of the shelter we
had erected for them, and feeling that we could do nothing more we scattered handfuls of maize and salt, and
strolled across to the other side of the island.

The shore was covered with lovely shells, many of which, with beautiful pieces of delicate coral, the boys
collected for their museum; strewn by the edge of the water too lay a great quantity of seaweed of various
colours, and as the mother declared that much of it was of use, the boys assisted her to collect it and store it in
the boat.

As we pulled back to the land I was surprised to see that my wife chose from among the seaweed a number of
curious leaves with edges notched like a saw. When we reached home she carefully washed these and dried
them in the oven. There was evidently something mysterious about this preparation and my curiosity at length
prompted me to make an attempt to discover the secret.

`Are these leaves to form a substitute for tobacco?' said I. `Do you so long for its refreshing smell?'

My wife smiled, for her dislike of tobacco was well known, and she answered in the same jocular tone:

`Do you not think that a mattress stuffed with these leaves would be very cool in summer?'

The twinkle in her eyes showed me that my curiosity must still remain unsatisfied, but it nevertheless became
greater than ever.

The boys and I had one day made a long and fatiguing expedition, and, tired out, we flung ourselves down in
the verandah. As we lay there resting, we heard the mother's voice:

`Could any of you enjoy a little jelly?' She presently appeared, bearing a porcelain dish laden with most lovely
transparent jelly. Cut with a spoon and laid before us it quivered and glittered in the light.

`Ambrosia!' exclaimed Fritz, tasting it. It was indeed delicious, and, still marvelling from whence my wife
could have obtained a dish so rare, we disposed of all that she had set before us.

`Aha,' laughed my wife, `is not this an excellent substitute for tobacco, far more refreshing than the nasty weed
itself. Behold the produce of my mysterious seaweed.'

`My dear wife,' exclaimed I, `this dish is indeed a masterpiece of culinary art, but where had you met with it?
What put it into your head?'
`While staying with my Dutch friends at the Cape,' replied she, `I often saw it, and at once recognized the leaves
on Shark Island. Once knowing the secret, the preparation of the dish is extremely simple: the leaves are soaked
in water, fresh every day, for a week, and then boiled for a few hours with orange juice, citron and sugar.'

We were all delighted with the delicacy, and thanked my wife for it most heartily, the boys declaring that they
must at once go off again to the island to collect as many of the leaves as they could find. I agreed to
accompany them, for I wished to examine the plantations we had made there.

All were flourishing, the palms and mangroves had shot up in a most marvellous manner, and many of the seeds
which I had cast at random amongst the clefts in the rocks had germinated, and promised to clothe the
darkedness of the frowning boulders.

A way up among the rocks too we discovered a bright sparkling spring of delicious water, at which, from the
footprints around, we saw that the antelopes must have refreshed themselves.

Finding everything so satisfactory, we were naturally anxious to discover how our colony and plantations on
Whale Island had fared. It was evident at a glance that the rabbits had increased, the young and tender shoots of
the trees bore the marks of many greedy mischievous little teeth. The cocoanut palms alone had they spared.

Such depredations as these could not be allowed, and with the help of the boys I erected round each stem a
hedge of prickly thorn, and then prepared again to embark; before we did so, however, I noticed that some of
the seaweed had also been gnawed by the rabbits, and wondering what it could have been to tempt them, I
collected some of it to examine more fully at home.

The skeleton of the whale, too, attracted our attention, for picked clean by the birds and bleached by sun and
rain the bones had been purified to a most perfect whiteness. Thinking that the joints of the vertebrae might be
made of use, I separated some ten or twelve, and rolled them down to the boat, and then returned to the shore,
towing them after us.

A scheme now occupied my mind for the construction of a crushing machine which would prove of the greatest
service to us. I knew that to make such a machine of stone was far beyond my power, but it had struck me that
the vertebrae of the whale might serve my purpose.

I determined next morning to look out a tree from which I might cut the blocks of wood that I should require to
raise my crushers.

My expedition was destined to be a solitary one, for when I went to the stables for a horse, I discovered that the
boys had gone off by themselves with their guns and traps, and had left to me a choice between the bull and

With Storm, therefore, I was fain to be content. I crossed the bridge, but as I reached the cassava field I noticed
to my great annoyance that it had been overrun and laid waste by some mischievous animals. I examined the
footprints, and seeing that they greatly resembled those of pigs, determined to follow the trail, and see who
these invaders of our territory would prove to be.

The track led me on for some way until I almost lost sight of it near our old potato field. For some time I hunted
backwards and forwards without seeing a sign of the animals; at length a loud barking from Floss and Bruno,
who were with me, announced that they had been discovered.

The whole family of our old sow, and she herself, were standing at bay, showing their teeth and grunting so
savagely, that the dogs feared to approach them.
I raised my gun and fired twice amongst the herd: two of the pigs fell, and the rest fled, followed by the dogs. I
picked up the pigs, and calling back the pursuers, continued my way through the forest.

A tree suited to my purpose was soon found; I marked it, and returned home.

Ernest, who had remained at home, assisted me to flay the young porkers, and I handed them over to my wife to
prepare for supper; by which time I hoped the other lads would have returned.

Late in the evening we heard the sounds of trampling hoofs, and presently Jack appeared, thundering along
upon his two-legged steed, followed in the distance by Fritz and Franz. These latter carried upon their cruppers
game-bags, the contents of which were speedily displayed: four birds, a kangaroo, twenty musk-rats, a monkey,
two hares and half a dozen beaver rats, were laid before me. Besides these, Fritz threw down, without a word of
explanation, a bundle of thistles.

The boys seemed almost wild with excitement at the success of their expedition, and presently Jack exclaimed:

`Oh, father, you can't think what grand fun hunting on an ostrich is; we flew along like the wind; sometimes I
could scarcely breathe, we were going at such a rate, and I was obliged to shut my eyes because of the terrific
rush of air; really, father, you must make me a mask with glass eyes to ride with, or I shall be blinded one of
these fine days.'

`Indeed!' replied I, `I must do no such thing.' `Why not?' asked he, with a look of amazement upon his face.

`For two reasons: firstly, because I do not consider that I must do anything that you demand; and, secondly,
because I think that you are very capable of doing it yourself. However, I must congratulate you upon your
abundant supply of game; you must have indeed worked hard.

`Yet I wish that you would let me know when you intend starting on such a long expedition as this; you forget
that though you yourselves know that you are quite safe, and that all is going on well, yet that we at home are
kept in a constant state of anxiety. Now, off with you, and look to your animals, and then you may find supper

Presently the boys returned, and we prepared for a most appetizing meal which the mother set before us.

While we were discussing the roast pig, and washing it down with fragrant mead, Fritz described the day's

They had set their traps near Woodlands, and had there captured the musk-rats, attracting them with small
carrots, while with other traps, baited with fish and earthworms, they had caught several beaver rats, and a
duck-billed platypus. Hunting and fishing had occupied the rest of the day, and it was with immense pride that
Jack displayed the kangaroo which he had run down with his swift courser.

Contributions to the garden had not been forgotten, and Fritz handed over to his mother several cuttings from
cinnamon and sweet-apple trees. Finally, when all the other treasures had been displayed, Fritz begged me to
examine his thistles which he had gathered, thinking, he said, that it was a plant used in the manufacture of

He was perfectly right, for I recognized it at once as the `fuller's teazle', a plant whose sharp little thorns, which
cover the stem and leaves, are used to raise the nap of cloth. We resolved to be up betimes the following
morning, that we might attend to the preparation of the booty, and as I now noticed that the boys were all
becoming extremely drowsy, I closed the day with evening devotions.
The number of the creatures we killed rendered the removal of their skins a matter of no little time and trouble.
It was not an agreeable task at any time, and when I saw the array of animals the boys had brought me to flay, I
determined to construct a machine which would considerably lessen the labour.

Amongst the ship's stores, in the surgeon's chest, I discovered a large syringe. This, with a few alterations,
would serve my purpose admirably. Within the tube I first fitted a couple of valves, and then, perforating the
stopper, I had in my possession a powerful air pump. The boys stared at me in blank amazement when, armed
with this instrument, I took up the kangaroo, and declared myself ready to commence operations.

`Skin a kangaroo with a squirt?' said they, and a roar of laughter followed the remark.

I made no reply to the jests which followed, but silently hung the kangaroo by its hind legs to the branch of a
tree. I then made a small incision in the skin, and inserting the mouth of the syringe forced air with all my might
between the skin and the body of the animal. By degrees the hide of the kangaroo distended, altering the shape
of the creature entirely.

Still I worked on, forcing in yet more air until it had become a mere shapeless mass, and I soon found that the
skin was almost entirely separated from the carcase. A bold cut down the belly, and a few touches here and
there where the ligatures still bound the hide to the body, and the animal was flayed.

`What a splendid plan!' cried the boys. `But why should it do it?'

`For a most simple and natural reason,' I replied. `Do you not know that the skin of an animal is attached to its
flesh merely by slender and delicate fibres, and that between these exist thousands of little bladders or air
chambers; by forcing air into these bladders the fibres are stretched, and at length, elastic as they are, cracked.
The skin has now nothing to unite it to the body, and, consequently, may be drawn off with perfect ease.

`This scientific fact has been known for many years; the Greenlanders make constant use of it; when they have
killed a seal or walrus they distend the skin that they may tow the animal more easily ashore, and then remove
its hide at a moment's notice.' The remaining animals were subjected to the same treatment, and, to my great
joy, in a couple of days the skins were all off, and being prepared for use.

I now summoned the boys to assist me in procuring blocks of wood for my crushing machine, and the following
day we set forth with saws, ropes, axes and other tools. We soon reached the tree I had selected for my
purpose, and I began by sending Fritz and Jack up into the tree with axes to cut off the larger of the high
branches so that, when the tree fell, it might not injure its neighbours.

They then descended, and Fritz and I attacked the stem. As the easiest and most speedy method we used a saw,
such as is employed by sawyers in a saw-pit and, Fritz taking one end and I the other, the tree was soon cut half
through. We then adjusted ropes that we might guide its fall, and again began to cut. It was labourious work, but
when I considered that the cut was sufficiently deep we took the ropes and pulled with our united strength. The
trunk cracked, swayed, tottered, and fell with a crash.

The boughs were speedily lopped off, and the trunk sawed into blocks four feet long. To cut down and divide
this tree had taken us a couple of days, and on the third we carted home four large and two small blocks, and
with the vertebrae joints of the whale I, in a very short time, completed my machine.

While engaged on this undertaking I had paid little attention to our fields of grain, and, accordingly, great was
my surprise when one evening the fowls returned, showing most evident indifference to their evening meal, and
with their crops perfectly full. It suddenly struck me that these birds had come from the direction of our
cornfield. I hurried off to see what damage they had done, and then found to my great joy that the grain was
perfectly ripe.
The amount of work before us startled my wife. This unexpected harvest, which added reaping and threshing to
the fishing, salting, and pickling already on hand, quite troubled her.

`Only think,' said she, `of my beloved potatoes and manioc roots! What is to become of them, I should like to
know? It is time to take them up, and how to manage it, with all this press of work, I can't see.'

`Don't be downhearted, wife,' said I; `there is no immediate hurry about the manioc, and digging potatoes in this
fine, light soil is easy work compared to what it is in Switzerland, while as to planting more, that will not be
necessary if we leave the younger plants in the ground. The harvest we must conduct after the Italian fashion,
which, although anything but economical, will save time and trouble, and as we are to have two crops in the
year, we need not be too particular.'

Without further delay, I commenced leveling a large space of firm clayey ground to act as a threshing floor; it
was well sprinkled with water, rolled, beaten, and stamped; as the sun dried the moisture it was watered anew,
and the treatment continued until it became a as flat, hard, and smooth as a threshing floor need be.

Our largest wicker basket was then slung between Storm and Grumble; we armed ourselves with reaping hooks,
and went forth to gather in the corn in the simplest and most expeditious manner imaginable. I told my
reapers not to concern themselves about the length of the straw, but to grasp the corn where it was convenient to
them, without stooping; each was to wind a stalk around his own handful, and throw it into the basket; in this
way great labour was saved.

The plan pleased the boys immensely, and in a short time the basket had been filled many times, and the field
displayed a quantity of tall, headless stubble, which perfectly horrified the mother, so extravagant and untidy
did she consider our work.

`This is dreadful!' cried she; `you have left numbers of ears growing on short stalks, and look at that splendid
straw completely wasted! I don't approve of your Italian fashion at all.'

`It is not a bad plan, I can assure you, wife, and the Italians do not waste the straw by not cutting it with the
grain; having more arable than pasture land, they use this high stubble for their cattle, letting them feed in it,
and eat what grain is left; afterward, allowing the grass to grow up among it, they mow all together for winter
fodder. And now for threshing, also in Italian fashion. We shall find it spare our arms and backs as much in that
as in reaping.'

The little sheaves were laid in a large circle on the floor, the boys mounted Storm, Grumble, Lightfoot, and
Hurry, starting off at a brisk trot, with many a merry jest, and round they went, trampling and stamping out the
grain, while dust and chaff flew in clouds about them.

My wife and I were incessantly occupied with hayforks, by means of which we shook up and moved the
sheaves over which the threshers rode, so as to throw them in the track.

From time to time the animals took mouthfuls of the tempting food they were beating out; we thought they well
deserved it, and called to mind the command given to the Jews, `Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out
the corn.'

After threshing, we proceeded to winnowing: by simply throwing the threshed corn with shovels high in the air
when the land or sea-breeze blew strong, the chaff and refuse was carried away by the wind and the grain fell to
the ground.
During these operations our poultry paid the threshing-floor many visits, testifying a lively interest in the
success of our labours, and gobbling up the grain at such a rate that my wife was obliged to keep them at a
reasonable distance; but I would not have them altogether stinted in the midst of our plenty. I said, `Let them
enjoy themselves; what we lose in grain, we gain in flesh. I anticipate delicious chicken-pie, roast goose, and
boiled turkey!'

When our harvest stores were housed, we found that we had reaped sixty, eighty, even a hundred-fold what had
been sown. Our garner was truly filled with all manner of store.

Expecting a second harvest, we were constrained to prepare the field for sowing again, and immediately
therefore commenced mowing down the stubble. While engaged in this, flocks of quails and partridges came to
glean among the scattered ears. We did not secure any great number, but resolved to be prepared for them next
season, and by spreading nets, to catch them in large quantities.

My wife was satisfied when she saw the straw carried home and stacked; our crop of maize, which of course
had not been threshed like the other corn, afforded soft leaves which were used for stuffing mattresses, while
the stalks, when burnt, left ashes so rich in alkali as to be especially useful.

I changed the crops sown on the ground to rye, barley and oats, and hoped they would ripen before the rainy

The shoals of herring made their appearance just as we finished our agricultural operations. This year we
pickled only two barrels of them; but we were not so merciful towards the seals, which arrived on the coast
directly afterwards. We hunted them vigorously, requiring their skins for many purposes, more especially for
the completion of the cajack. On the little deck of that tiny vessel I had made a kind of magazine, in which to
store pistols, ammunition, water and provisions, and this I meant to cover with seal-skin, so as to be quite
watertight. A couple of harpoons furnished with seal bladders were to be suspended alongside.
                                                Chapter 15
At last came the day when Fritz was to make his trial trip with the cajack. Completely equipped in swimming
costume--trousers, and jacket and cap--it was most ludicrous to see him cower down in the canoe and puff and
blow till he began to swell like the frog in the fable.

All trace of his original figure was speedily lost, and shouts of laughter greeted his comical appearance. Even
his mother could not resist a smile, although the dress was her own invention.

I got the other boat out, that my wife might see we were ready to go to his assistance the moment it became

The cajack was launched from a convenient shelving point, and floated lightly on the sea-green ocean mirror.
Fritz with his paddles then began to practise all manner of evolutions: darting along with arrowy swiftness,
wheeling to the right, then to the left; and at last, flinging himself quite on his side, while his mother uttered a
shriek of terror, he showed that the tiny craft would neither capsize nor sink. Then, recovering his balance, he
sped securely on his further way.

Encouraged by our shouts of approbation, he now boldly ventured into the strong current of Jackal River, and
was rapidly carried out to sea.

This being more than I had bargained for, I lost no time in giving chase in the boat, with Ernest and Jack; my
wife, urging us to greater speed, and declaring that some accident could not fail to happen to `that horrid soap-

We soon arrived outside the bay, at the rocks where formerly lay the wreck, and gazed in all directions for signs
of the runaway.

After a time we saw, at a considerable distance, a faint puff of smoke, followed by the crack of a pistol. Upon
this we fired a signal shot, which was presently answered by another, and, steering in the direction of the sound,
we soon heard the boy's cheery halloo; the cajack darted from behind a point of land, and we quickly joined

`Come to this rocky beach,' cried Fritz, `I have something to show you.'

With blank amazement we beheld a fine well-grown young walrus, harpooned and quite dead.

`Did you kill this creature, my dear Fritz?' I exclaimed, looking round in some anxiety, and half expecting to see
a naked savage come to claim the prize.

`To be sure, father! Don't you see my harpoon? Why do you doubt it?'

`Well, I scarcely know,' replied I, laughing, `but success so speedy, so unexpected, and so appropriate, to an
amateur Greenlander, took me by surprise. I congratulate you, my boy! But I must tell you that you have
alarmed us by making this long trip. You should not have gone out of the bay. I left your mother in grievous

`Indeed, father, I had no idea of passing out of sight, but once in the current, I was carried along, and could not
help myself. Then I came on a herd of walruses, and I did so long to make a prize of one that I forgot everything
else, and made chase after them when beyond the influence of the current, until I got near enough to harpoon
this fine fellow. He swam more slowly, and I struck him a second time; then he sought refuge among these
rocks, and expired. I landed, and scrambled to where he lay; but I took care to give him the contents of my
pistol before going close up, having a salutary recollection of the big serpent's parting fling at you, Jack.'

`You ran a very great risk,' said I. `The walrus is an inoffensive creature; but when attacked and wounded, it
often becomes furious and, turning upon its pursuer, can destroy, with its long tusks, a strongly built whale boat.
However, thank God for your safety! I value that above a thousand such creatures. Now what's to be done with
him? He must be quite fourteen feet long, although not full grown.'

`I am very glad you followed me, father,' said Fritz, `but our united strength will not move this prodigious
weight from among these rocks; only do let me carry away the head, with these grand snow-white tusks!
I should so like to fasten it on the prow of the cajack, and name it the Sea-horse.'

`We must certainly carry away the beautiful ivory tusks,' said I, `but make haste! The air feels so excessively
close and sultry, I think a storm is brewing.'

`But the head! The head! we must have the whole head,' cried Jack, `just think how splendid it will look on the

`And how splendid it will smell too, when it begins to putrefy,' added Ernest. `What a treat for the steersman!'

`Oh, we will prepare for that,' said Fritz. `It shall be soaked and cleaned, and dried till it is as hard as a wooden
model; it shall not offend your delicate nose in the least, Ernest!'

`I supposed the walrus to be an animal peculiar to the Arctic
regions,' remarked Ernest.

`And so it is,' I replied, `though they may occasionally be seen elsewhere; these may have wandered from the
Antarctic seas. I know that on the eastern coast of Africa is found a smaller species of walrus called the dugong:
it has long incisor teeth, but not tusks; and certainly resembles a seal rather than a walrus.'

While thus speaking, we were actively engaged in the decapitation of the walrus, and in cutting off long strips
of its skin. This took some time, as we had not the proper implements, and Fritz remarked, that in future the
cajack must be provided with a hunting-knife and a hatchet; adding that he should like to have a small compass,
in a box with a glass top, fixed in front of the hole where the steersman sits. I saw the necessity of this and I
promised it should be done.

Our work being accomplished, we were ready to go, and I proposed to take Fritz and the canoe on board our
boat, so that we might all arrive together; but I yielded to his earnest wish to return alone as he came; he longed
to act as our avant-courier, and announce our approach to his mother; so he was soon skimming away over the
surface of the water, while we followed at slower rate.

Black clouds meanwhile gathered thick and fast around us, and a tremendous storm came on. Fritz was out of
sight and beyond our reach.

We buckled on the swimming belts, and firmly lashed ourselves to the boat, so that we might not be washed
overboard by the towering seas which broke over it.

The horizon was shrouded in darkness, fearful gusts of wind lashed the ocean into foam, rain descended in
torrents, while livid lightning glared athwart the gloom. Both my boys faced the danger nobly; and my feelings
of alarm were mingled with hope on finding how well the boat behaved.
The tempest swept on its way, and the sky began to clear as suddenly as it had been overcast; yet the stormy
waves continued for a long time to threaten our frail bark with destruction, in spite of its buoyancy and

Yet I never lost hope for ourselves--all my fears were for Fritz; in fact I gave him up for lost, and my whole
agonized heart arose in prayer for strength to say, `Thy will be done!'

At last we rounded the point, and once more entering Safety Bay, quickly drew near the little harbour.

What was our surprise--our overwhelming delight when there we saw the mother with Fritz, as well as her little
boy, on their knees in prayer so earnest for our deliverance, that our approach was unperceived, until with cries
of joy we attracted their notice.

Then indeed ensued a happy meeting, and we gave thanks together for the mercy which had spared our lives.

Returning joyfully to Rockburg, we changed our drenched garments for warm dry clothes; and, seated at a
comfortable meal, considered and described at our ease the perils of the storm.

Afterwards, the head of the walrus was conveyed to our workshop; where it underwent such a skilful and
thorough process of cleaning, embalming and drying, that ere long it was actually fixed on the prow of the
cajack, and a most imposing appearance it presented!

The strips of hide, when well tanned and prepared, made valuable leather.

Much damage had been done by the late storm. The heavy rain had flooded all the streams, and injured crops
which should have been housed and safe before the regular rainy season.

The bridge over Jackal River was partly broken down, and the water tanks and pipes all needed repair. So that
our time was much occupied in restoring things to order.

On going to work one day near the cascade, we found a great number of dark-red berries, scattered on the
ground; they were about the size of ordinary hazel-nuts, with small leafy coronets at the tip.

The boys thought them so inviting, that they tasted them at once, but angry exclamations and much spitting and
spluttering followed the experiment; even Knips rejected them, and they would have been cast aside with
contempt, had not the smell induced me to examine them. I decided that this was the fruit of the clove.

Some plants were immediately set in the nursery garden, and my wife was pleased to have this excellent spice
wherewith to flavour her boiled rice and other dishes, in lieu of pepper--a very welcome variety to everyone.

Having a good supply of clay, brought from the bed near Falconhurst, I proposed to use it for making queducts;
and, observing how much the recent rain had promoted the growth of our young corn, I determined to irrigate
the fields with the drainage from our crushing-mill.

The fishing season was again successful. Large takes of salmon, sturgeon and herring rewarded our annual
exertions, and our store-room again assumed a well-stocked appearance. Much as I wished that we could
obtain a constant supply of these fish fresh, I was obliged to reject the naive proposal from Jack, that we should
tether a shoal of salmon by the gills to the bottom of the bay as we had secured the turtles.

Many quiet uneventful days passed by and I perceived that the boys, wearied by the routine of farm work at
Rockburg, were longing for a cruise in the yacht or an expedition into the woods, which would refresh both
mind and body.
`Father,' said Fritz at length, `we want a quantity of hurdles, and have scarcely any more bamboos of which to
make them. Had we not better get a supply from Woodlands? And you said, too, the other day, that you wished
you had some more of the fine clay: we might visit the Gap at the same time.'

I had really no objection to propose; and it was shortly afterwards settled that Fritz, Jack, and Franz should start
together; and that Ernest, who had no great desire to accompany his brothers, should remain with his mother
and me, and assist in the construction of a sugar-mill, the erection of which I had long contemplated.
Before they started, Fritz begged some bear's meat from his mother, to make pemmican.

`And what may pemmican be?' she asked.

`It is food carried by the fur-traders of North America on their long journeys through the wild country they
traverse; and consists of bear or deer's flesh, first cooked and then pounded or ground to powder. It is very
portable, and nourishing.'

His mother consented `to humour him', as she said, although without much faith in the value of the preparation;
and in the course of two days a stock of pemmican, sufficient for a Polar expedition, was fabricated by our
enthusiastic son.

They were ready to start, when I observed Jack quietly slip a basket, containing several pigeons, under the
packages in the cart.

`Oh, oh!' thought I, `the little fellow has his doubts about that pemmican, and thinks a tough old pigeon would
be preferable.'

The weather was exquisite; and, with exhortations to prudence and caution from both me and their mother, the
three lads started in the very highest spirits. Storm and Grumble, as usual, drew the cart, and were ridden by
Fritz and Franz; while Hurry carried Jack swiftly across the bridge in advance of them; followed by Floss and
Bruno, barking at his heels.

The sugar-mill occupied us for several days, and was made so much like our other mills that I need not now
describe it.

On the evening of the first day, as we sat resting in the porch at Rockburg, we naturally talked of the absentees,
wondering and guessing what they might be about.

Ernest looked rather mysterious, and hinted that he might have news of them next morning.

Just then a bird alighted on the dove-cot, and entered. I could not see, in the failing light, whether it was one of
our own pigeons or an intruder. Ernest started up, and said he would see that all was right.

In a few minutes he returned with a scrap of paper in his hand. `News, father! The very latest news by pigeon-
post, mother!'

`Well done, boys! What a capital idea!' said I, and taking the note I read:

`Dearest parents and Ernest,

`A brute of a hyaena has killed a ram and two lambs. The dogs seized it. Franz shot it. It is dead and skinned.
The pemmican isn't worth much, but we are all right. Love to all.

`Woodlands, 15th instant

`A true hunter's letter!' laughed I. `But what exciting news. When does the next post come in, Ernest?'

`Tonight, I hope,' said he, while his mother sighed, and doubted the value of such glimpses into the scenes of
danger through which her sons were passing, declaring she would much rather wait and hear all about it when
she had them safe home again.

Thus the winged letter-carriers kept us informed from day to day of the outline of adventures which were
afterwards more fully described.

On approaching the farm at Woodlands, the boys were startled by hearing, as they thought, human laughter,
repeated again and again; while, to their astonishment, the oxen testified the greatest uneasiness, the dogs
growled and drew close to their masters, and the ostrich fairly bolted with Jack into the rice swamp.

The laughter continued, and the beasts became unmanageable.

`Something is very far wrong!' cried Fritz. `I cannot leave the animals; but while I unharness them, do you,
Franz, take the dogs, and advance cautiously to see what is the matter.'

Without a moment's hesitation, Franz made his way among the bushes with his gun, and closely followed by the
dogs; until, through an opening in the thicket, he could see, at the distance of about forty paces, an enormous
hyaena, in the most wonderful state of excitement; dancing round a lamb just killed, and uttering, from time to
time, the ghastly hysterical laughter which had pealed through the forest.

The beast kept running backwards and forwards, rising on its hind legs, and then rapidly whirling round and
round, nodding its head, and going through most frantic and ludicrous antics.

Franz kept his presence of mind very well; for he watched till, calming down, the hyaena began with horrid
growls to tear its prey; and then, firing steadily both barrels, he broke its foreleg, and wounded it in the breast.

Meanwhile Fritz, having unyoked the oxen and secured them to trees, hurried to his brother's assistance. The
dogs and the dying hyaena were by this time engaged in mortal strife; but the latter, although it severely
wounded both Floss and Bruno, speedily succumbed, and was dead when the boys reached the spot.

They raised a shout of triumph, which guided Jack to the scene of action; and their first care was for the dogs,
whose wounds they dressed before minutely examining the hyaena. It was as large as a wild boar; long stiff
bristles formed a mane on its neck, its colour was grey marked with black, the teeth and jaws were of
xtraordinary strength, the thighs muscular and sinewy, the claws remarkably strong and sharp altogether. But
for his wounds, he would certainly have been more than a match for the dogs.

After unloading the cart at the farm, the boys returned for the carcase of the tiger-wolf, as it is sometimes called,
and occupied themselves in skinning it during the remainder of the day, when after dispatching the carrier-
pigeon to Rockburg, they retired to rest on their bearskin rugs, to dream of adventures past and future.

The following day they devised no less a scheme than to survey the shores of Wood Lake, and place marks
wherever the surrounding marsh was practicable and might be crossed either to reach the water or leave it.
Fritz in the cajack, and the boys on shore, carefully examined the ground together; and when they found firm
footing to the water's edge, the spot was indicated by planting a tall bamboo, bearing on high a bundle of reeds
and branches.

They succeeded in capturing three young black swans, after considerable resistance from the old ones. They
were afterwards brought to Rockburg, and detained as ornaments to Safety Bay.

Presently a beautiful heron thrust his long neck from among the reeds, to ascertain what all the noise on the lake
was about.

Before he could satisfy his curiosity, Fritz unhooded his eagle, and though vainly he flapped and struggled, his
legs and wings were gently but firmly bound, and he had to own himself vanquished, and submit to the
inspection of his delighted captors.

It was their turn to be alarmed next, for a large powerful animal came puffing with a curious whistling sound
through the dense thicket of reeds, passing close by and sorely discomposing them by its sudden appearance. It
was out of sight immediately, before they could summon the dogs, and from their description it must have been
a tapir, the colour dark brown, and in form resembling a young rhinoceros, but with no horn on the nose, and
the upper lip prolonged into a trunk something like that of an elephant on a smaller scale. It is a gentle creature,
but when attacked becomes a fierce opponent, and can wound dogs dangerously with its powerful teeth. The
tapir can swim and dive with perfect ease, and abounds in the densely wooded swamps and rivers of tropical

Fritz in his cajack followed for a time the direction in which the tapir proceeded, but saw no more of it.
Meanwhile the other two boys returned to the farm by the rice-fields, and there fell in with a flock of cranes,
five or six of which they caught alive, among them two demoiselle or Numidian cranes.

These birds they shot at with arrows arranged in a skilful and original way, with loops of cord dipped in
birdlime attached to them, so that it often happened that the bird aimed at, was entangled and brought down

The young hunters seemed to have lived very comfortably on peccary ham, cassava bread and fruit, and plenty
of baked potatoes and milk.

One trial of the pemmican was sufficient, and it was handed over to the dogs. Fritz, however, determined again
to attempt the manufacture, knowing its value when properly prepared.

After collecting a supply of rice and cotton, they took their way to Prospect Hill, `and,' said Fritz, as he
afterwards vividly described the dreadful scene there enacted, `when we entered the pine wood, we found it in
possession of troops of monkeys, who resolved to make our passage through it as disagreeable as possible, for
they howled and chattered at us like demons, pelting us as hard as they could with pine cones.

`They became so unbearable, that at last we fired a few shots right and left among them; several bit the dust, the
rest fled, and we continued our way in peace to Prospect Hill, but only to discover the havoc the wretches had
made there.

`Would you believe it, father? The pleasant cottage had been overrun and ruined by apes just as Woodlands last
summer! The most dreadful dirt and disorder met our eyes wherever we turned, and we had hard work to make
the place fit for human habitation; and even then we preferred the tent. I felt quite at a loss how to guard the arm
for the future; but seeing a bottle of the poisonous gum of the euphorbia in the tool chest, I devised a plan for
the destruction of the apes which succeeded beyond my expectations.
`I mixed poison with milk, bruised millet and anything I thought the monkeys would eat, and put it in cocoanut
shells, which I hung about in the trees, high enough to be out of reach of our own animals. The evening was
calm and lovely; the sea murmured in the distance, and the rising moon shed a beauty over the landscape which
we seemed never before to have so admired and enjoyed. The summer night closed around us in all its solemn
stillness, and our deepest feelings were touched; when suddenly the spell was broken by an outburst of the most
hideous and discordant noises.

`As by one consent, every beast of the forest seemed to arise from its den, and utter its wild nocturnal cry.
Snorting, snarling and shrieking filled the woods beneath us.

`From the hills echoed the mournful howl of jackals, answered by Fangs in the yard, who was backed up by the
barking and yelping of his friends Floss and Bruno. Far away beyond the rocky fastnesses of the Gap, sounded
unearthly hollow snortings and neighings, reminding one of the strange cry of the hippopotamus; above these,
occasional deep majestic roarings made our hearts quail with the conviction that we heard the voices of lions
and elephants.

`Overawed and silent, we retired to rest, hoping to forget in sleep the terrors of the midnight forest; but ere long
the most fearful cries in the adjoining woods gave notice that the apes were beginning to suffer from the
poisoned repast prepared for them.

`As our dogs could not remain silent amid the uproar and din, we had not a wink of sleep until the morning. It
was late, therefore, when we rose, and looked on the awful spectacle presented by the multitude of dead
monkeys and baboons thickly strewn under the trees round the farm.
I shall not tell you how many there were. I can only say I wished I had not found the poison, and we made all
haste to clear away the dead bodies and the dangerous food, burying some deep in the earth, and, carrying the
rest to the shore, we pitched them over the rocks into the sea. That day we travelled on to the Gap.'

The same evening that the boys reached the rocky pass, a messenger-pigeon arrived at Rockburg, bearing a note
which concluded in the following words:

`The barricade at the Gap is broken down. Everything laid waste as far as the sugar-brake, where the hut is
knocked to pieces, and the fields trampled over by huge footmarks. Come to us, father--we are safe, but feel we
are no match for this unknown danger.'

I lost not an instant, but saddled Swift, late as it was, in order to ride to the assistance of our boys, desiring
Ernest to prepare the small cart, and follow me with his mother at daybreak, bringing everything we should
require for camping out for some days.

The bright moonlight favoured my journey, and my arrival at the Gap surprised and delighted the boys who did
not expect me till next day. Early on the following morning I inspected the footprints and ravages of the great
unknown. The cane-brake had, without doubt, been visited by an elephant. That great animal alone could have
left such traces and committed such fearful ravages.

Thick posts in the barricade were snapped across like reeds; the trees in the vicinity, where we planned to build
a cool summer-house, were stripped of leaves and branches to a great height, but the worst mischief was done
among the young sugar-cane plants, which were all either devoured or trampled down and destroyed.

It seemed to me that not one elephant, but a troop must have invaded our grounds. The tracks were very
numerous, and the footprints of various sizes; but, to my satisfaction, I saw that they could be traced
not only from the Gap, but back to it in evidently equal numbers.
We did not, therefore, suppose that the mighty animals remained hidden in the woods of our territory; but
concluded that, after this freebooting incursion, they had withdrawn to their native wilds, where, by greatly
increasing the strength of our ramparts, we hoped henceforth to oblige them to remain.

In what manner to effect this we laid many plans, during the night of my arrival, when, sitting by an enormous
watch-fire, I chatted with my boys, and heard details of their numerous adventures, so interesting for them to
relate, and for me to hear, that everyone was more disposed to act sentinel than retire to sleep.

My wife and Ernest arrived next day, and she rejoiced to find all well, making light of trodden fields and
trampled sugar-canes, since her sons were sound in life and limb.

A systematic scheme of defence was now elabourated, and the erection of the barricade occupied us for at least
a month, as it was to be a firm and durable building, proof against all invasion.

As our little tent was unsuited to a long residence of this sort, I adopted Fritz's idea of a Kamschatkan dwelling
and, to his great delight, forthwith carried it out.

Instead of planting four posts, on which to place a platform, we chose four trees of equal size, which, in a very
suitable place, grew exactly in a square, twelve or fourteen feet apart. Between these, at about twenty feet from
the ground, we laid a flooring of beams and bamboo, smoothly and strongly planked. From this rose, on all four
sides, walls of cane; the frame of the roof was covered so effectually by large pieces of bark that no rain could
penetrate. The staircase to this tree-cottage was simply a broad plank with bars nailed across it for steps. The
flooring projected like a balcony in front of the entrance door, and underneath, on the ground, we fitted up sheds
for cattle and fowls.

Various ornaments in Chinese or Japanese style were added to the roof and eaves, and a most convenient, cool
and picturesque cottage, overhung and adorned by the graceful foliage of the trees, was the result of our

I was pleased to find that the various birds taken by the boys during this excursion seemed likely to thrive; they
were the first inmates of the new sheds, and even the black swans and cranes soon became tame and sociable.

Constantly roaming through the woods, the children often made new discoveries.

Fritz brought one day, after an excursion to the opposite side of the stream beyond the Gap, a cluster of ananas,
and also of cacao-beans, from which chocolate is made.

The banana, although valuable and nourishing food for the natives of the tropical countries where it grows, is
not generally liked by Europeans, and probably this variety was even inferior to many others, for we found the
fruit much like rotten pears, and almost uneatable.

The cacao seeds tasted exceedingly bitter, and it seemed wonderful that by preparation they should produce
anything so delicious as chocolate.

My wife, who now fancied no manufacture beyond my skill, begged for plants, seeds, or cuttings to propagate
in her nursery garden, already fancying herself in the enjoyment of chocolate for breakfast, and I promised to
make a cacao plantation near home.

`Let me have bananas also,' said she, `for we may acquire a taste for that celebrated fruit, and, at all events, I am
sure I can make it into an excellent preserve.'
The day before our return to Rockburg, Fritz went again to the inland region beyond the river to obtain a large
supply of young banana-plants, and the cacao-fruit. He took the cajack, and a bundle of reeds to float behind
him as a raft to carry the fruit, plants, and anything else he might wish to bring back.

In the evening he made his appearance, coming swiftly down stream. His brothers rushed to meet him, each
eager to see and help to land his cargo. Ernest and Fritz were quickly running up the bank, with arms full of
plants, branches and fruit, when Fritz handed to Jack a dripping wet bag which he had brought along partly
under water. A curious pattering noise proceeded from this bag, but they kept the contents a secret for the
present, Jack running with it behind a bush before peeping in, and I could just hear him exclaim:

`Hullo! I say, what monsters they are! It's enough to make a fellow's flesh creep to look at them!'

With that he hastily shut up the bag, and put it away safely out of sight in water.

Securing the cajack, Fritz sprang towards us, his handsome face radiant with pleasure, as he exhibited a
beautiful water-fowl. Its plumage was rich purple, changing on the back to dark green; the legs, feet and a mark
above the bill, bright red. This lovely bird I concluded to be the Sultan cock described by Buffon, and as it was
gentle, we gladly received it among our domestic pets.

Fritz gave a stirring account of his exploring trip, having made his way far up the river, between fertile plains
and majestic forests of lofty trees, where the cries of vast numbers of birds, parrots, peacocks, guinea-fowls and
hundreds unknown to him, quite bewildered him and made him feel giddy.

`It was in the Buffalo Swamp,' continued he, `that I saw the splendid birds you call Sultan cocks, and I set my
heart on catching one alive, which, as they seemed to have little fear of my approach, I managed by means of a
wire snare. Farther on I saw a grove of mimosa trees, among which huge dark masses were moving in a
deliberate way. Guess what they were!'

`Savages?' asked Franz timidly.

`Black bears, I bet!' cried Jack.

`Your words suggest to my mind the manner and appearance of elephants,' said Ernest.

`Right you are, Professor!' exclaimed Fritz gaily, the words producing quite a sensation on the whole attentive
family. `From fifteen to twenty elephants were feeding peacefully on the leafy boughs, tearing down branches
with their trunks and shoving them into their mouths with one jerk, or bathing in the deep waters of the marsh
for refreshment in the great heat. You cannot imagine the wild grandeur of the scene! The river being very
broad, I felt safe from wild animals, and more than once saw splendid jaguars crouched on the banks, their
glossy skin glancing in the sunlight.

`While considering if it would be simply foolhardy to try a shot at one
of these creatures, I was suddenly convinced that discretion is the
better part of valour, and urging my canoe into the centre current,
made a rapid retreat down the river. For just before me, in the calm
deep water of a sheltered bay where I was quietly floating, there arose
a violent boiling, bubbling commotion, and for an instant I thought a
hot spring was going to burst forth--instead of that, up rose the
hideous head and gaping jaws of a hippopotamus, who, with a hoarse
terrific snort, seemed about to attack me.
`I can tell you I did not wait to see the rest of him! A glimpse of his enormous mouth and its array of white
gleaming tusks was quite enough. "Right about face!" said I to myself, and shot down the stream like an
arrow, never pausing till a bend in the river brought me within sight of the Gap, where I once more felt safe, and
joyfully made my way back to you all.'

This narrative was of thrilling interest to us, proving the existence of tribes of the most formidable animals
beyond the rocky barrier which defended, in so providential a manner, the small and fertile territory on which
our lot was cast.

During the absence of the adventurer we had been busily engaged in making preparations for our departure--and
everything was packed up and ready by the morning after his return.

After some hesitation I yielded to his great wish, which was to return by sea in his cajack round Cape
Disappointment and so meet us at Rockburg.

He was much interested in examining the outlines of the coast, and the rugged precipices of the Cape. These
were tenanted by vast flocks of sea-fowl and birds of prey; while many varieties of shrubs and plants, hitherto
unknown to us, grew in the clefts and crevices of the rocks, some of them diffusing a strong aromatic odour.
Among the specimens he brought I recognized the caper plant and, with still greater pleasure, a shrub which
was, I felt sure, the tea-plant of China--it bore very pretty white flowers and the leaves resembled myrtle.

Our land journey was effected without accident or adventure of any kind.

Jack, mounted as usual on Hurry, the ostrich, carried the mysterious wet bag very carefully slung at his side,
and when near home started off at a prodigious rate in advance of us.

He let fall the drawbridge, and we saw no more of him until, on reaching Rockburg, he appeared leisurely
returning from the swamp, where apparently he had gone to deposit his `moist secret', as Franz called it.

We were all glad to take up our quarters once more in our large and convenient dwelling, and my first business
was to provide for the great number of birds we now had on our hands, by establishing them in suitable
localities, it being impossible to maintain them all in the poultry-yard. Some were, therefore, taken to the
islands; and the black swans, the heron, the graceful demoiselle cranes, and our latest acquisition, the splendid
Sultan cock, soon became perfectly at home in the swamp, greatly adding to the interest of the neighbourhood
of Safety Bay.

The old bustards were the tamest of all our feathered pets, and never more so than at meal-times. They were
unfailing in their attendance when we dined or supped in the open air.

Towards evening, as we sat in the verandah listening to Fritz's account of his trip round the Cape, an
extraordinary hollow roaring noise sounded from the swamp, not unlike the angry bellowing of a bull.

The dogs barked and the family rose in excitement; but remarked a look of quiet humour in Fritz's eye, as he
stood leaning against one of the verandah pillars, watching Jack, who, in some confusion, started off towards
the marsh.

`Come back, you silly boy!' cried his mother. `The child has not so much as a pistol, and is rushing off alone to
face he knows not what!'

`Perhaps,' said I, looking at Fritz, `this is not a case requiring the use of firearms. It may be only the booming of
a bittern which we hear.'
`You need not be uneasy, mother,' said Fritz. `Jack knows what he is about, only this charming serenade took
him by surprise, and I fancy he will have to exhibit his treasures before they reach perfection. Yes, here he

Lugging his `moist secret' along with him, Jack, flushed and breathless, came up to us, exclaiming:

`They were to grow as big as rabbits before you saw them! Such a shame! I never thought they would kick up a
row like that. Now for it!'--and he turned out the bag. `This is "Grace", and this is "Beauty".'

Two immense frogs rolled clumsily on the ground, and recovering their feet, sat squat before us, swelling and
buffing with a ludicrous air of insulted dignity, while peals of laughter greeted them on all sides.

`Ladies and gentlemen, these are two very handsome young specimens of the famous African bull-frog,' said
Jack, pretending to be offended at the mingled disgust and amusement occasioned by their appearance; `they
are but half-grown, and I hoped to maintain them in seclusion, until they reached full size, when I would have
introduced them with proper eclat. But since their talent for music has brought them precociously into public
notice, I must beg for your kind and indulgent patronage and--leave to take them back to the swamp.'

Great clapping of hands followed Jack's speech.

`Grace' and `Beauty' were examined, and commented on with much interest, and voted decidedly handsome `in
their way'.

Their general colour was greenish-brown, mottled and spotted with reddish-brown, and yellow; the sides green
and black; the underpart yellow, mottled with orange. The eyes were positively beautiful, of a rich chestnut hue,
covered with golden white dots, which shone with a metallic lustre. The skin of the body was puckered into
longitudinal folds.

By general consent they were remanded to the swamp. Shortly after our return to Rockburg, my wife drew my
attention to the somewhat neglected state of our dear old summer residence at Falconhurst, begging me to
devote some time to its restoration and embellishment.

This I most willingly undertook, and we removed thither, as soon as the boys had completed the arrangement of
the artificial salt-lick to their satisfaction.

At Falconhurst things were quickly in good order, and we made a great improvement by completing the broad
terrace supported on the arching roots of the trees--it was better floored--and rustic pillars and trellis-work
sustained a bark roof which afforded pleasant shade.

After this was done, I was compelled to consent to a plan long cherished by Fritz, who wished to construct a
watch-tower and mount a gun on Shark Island. After great exertion, both mental and bodily, this piece of
military engineering was completed; and a flagstaff erected, on which the guard at this outpost could run up a
white flag to signal the approach of anything harmless from the sea, while a red flag would be shown on the
least appearance of danger.

To celebrate the completion of this great work, which occupied us during two months, we hoisted the white flag
and fired a salute of six guns.
                                               Chapter 16
`We spend our years as a tale that is told,' said King David. These records recurred to me again and again as I
reviewed ten years, of which the story lay chronicled in the pages of my journal.

Year followed year; chapter succeeded chapter; steadily, imperceptibly, time was passing away.

The shade of sadness cast on my mind by retrospect of this kind, was dispelled by thoughts full of gratitude to
God, for the welfare and happiness of my beloved family during so long a period. I had cause especially to
rejoice in seeing our sons advance to manhood strengthened by early training for lives of usefulness and activity
wherever their lot might fall.

And my great wish is that young people who read this record of our lives and adventures, should learn from it
how admirably suited is the peaceful, industrious and pious life of a cheerful and united family, to the formation
of strong, pure and manly character.

None take a better place in the great national family, none are happier or more beloved than those who go forth
from such homes to fulfil new duties, and to gather fresh interests around them.

Having given a detailed account of several years' residence in New Switzerland, as we liked to call our
dominion, it is needless for me to continue what would exhaust the patience of the most long-suffering, by
repeating monotonous narratives of exploring parties and hunting expeditions, wearisome descriptions of
awkward inventions and clumsy machines, with an endless record of discoveries, more fit for the pages of an
encyclopaedia, than a book of family history.

Yet before winding up with the concluding events, I may mention some interesting facts illustrative of our exact
position at the time these took place.

Rockburg and Falconhurst continued to be our winter and summer headquarters, and improvements were added
which made them more and more convenient as well as attractive in appearance.

The fountains, trellised verandahs and plantations round Rockburg, completely changed the character of the
residence which on account of the heat and want of vegetation had in former days been so distasteful to my
wife. Flowering creepers overhung the balconies and pillars; while shrubs and trees, both native and European,
grew luxuriantly in groves of our planting.

In the distance, Shark Island, now clothed with graceful palms, guarded the entrance to Safety Bay, the battery
and flagstaff prominently visible on its crested rock.

The swamp, cleared and drained, was now a considerable lake, with just marsh and reeds enough beyond it to
form good cover for the waterfowl whose favourite retreat it was.

On its blue waters sailed stately black swans, snow-white geese and richly coloured ducks; while out and in
among the water-plants and rushes would appear at intervals glimpses of the brilliant Sultan, marsh-fowl,
crimson flamingos, soft blue-grey demoiselle cranes, and crested heron, all associating in harmony, and with no
fear of us, their masters.

The giant frogs, Grace and Beauty, delighted Jack by actually attaining in time to the size of small rabbits; and,
perfectly knowing their very appropriate names, would waddle out of the marsh at his call, to eat a grasshopper
or dainty fly.
Beneath the spreading trees, and through the aromatic shrubberies, old Hurry, the ostrich, was usually to be seen
marching about, with grave and dignified pace, as though monarch of all he surveyed. Every variety of beautiful
pigeon nested in the rocks and dove-cots, their soft cooing and glossy plumage making them favourite
household pets.

By the bridge alone could Rockburg be approached; for higher up the river where, near the cascade, it was
fordable, a dense and impenetrable thicket of orange and lemon trees, Indian figs, prickly pears and all manner
of thorn-bearing shrubs, planted by us, now formed a complete barrier.

The rabbit-warren on Shark Island kept us well supplied with food, as well as soft and useful fur; and, as the
antelopes did not thrive on Whale Isle, they also were placed among the shady groves with the rabbits, and their
own island devoted to such work as candle-making, tanning, wool-cleaning and any other needful but offensive

The farm at Woodlands flourished, and our flocks and herds supplied us with mutton, beef and veal, while my
wife's dairy was almost more than she could manage.

My boys retained their old love for giving names to the animals. They had a beautiful creamy-white cow, called
Blanche, and a bull with such a tremendous voice, that he received the name of Stentor. Two fleet young
onagers were named Arrow and Dart; and Jack had a descendant of his old favourite Fangs, the jackal, which he
chose to call Coco, asserting that no word could be distinguished at a distance without `o' in it, giving
illustrations of his theory till our ears were almost deafened.

Excellent health had been enjoyed by us all during these ten years, though my wife occasionally suffered from
slight attacks of fever, and the boys sometimes met with little accidents.

They were all fine handsome fellows: Fritz, now twenty-four, was of moderate height, uncommonly strong,
active, muscular and high-spirited.

Ernest, two years younger, was tall and slight; in disposition, mild, calm and studious; his early faults of
indolence and selfishness were almost entirely overcome. He possessed refined tastes and great intellectual

Jack, at twenty, strongly resembled Fritz, being about his height, though more lightly built, and remarkable
rather for active grace and agility than for muscular strength.

Franz, a lively youth of seventeen, had some of the qualities of each of his brothers; he possessed wit and
shrewdness, but not the arch drollery of Jack.

All were honourable, God-fearing young men, dutiful and affectionate to their mother and myself, and warmly
attached to each other.

Although so many years had elapsed in total seclusion, it continued to be my strong impression that we should
one day be restored to the society of our fellow men.

But time, which was bringing our sons to manhood, was also carrying their parents onwards to old age; and
anxious, gloomy thoughts relating to their future, should they be left indeed alone, sometimes oppressed my

On such occasions I would not communicate the sense of depression to my family, but turning in prayer to the
Almighty Father, laid my trouble before Him, with never-failing renewal of strength and hope.
My elder sons often made expeditions of which we knew nothing until their return after many hours; when any
uneasiness I might have felt was dissipated by their joyous appearance, and reproof always died away on my

Fritz had been absent one whole day from Rockburg, and not until evening did we remark that his cajack was
gone, and that he must be out at sea.

Anxious to see him return before nightfall, I went off to Shark Island with Ernest and Jack, in order to look out
for him from the watch-tower there, at the same time hoisting our signal flag, and loading the gun.

Long we gazed across the expanse of ocean glittering in the level beams of the setting sun, and finally discerned
a small black speck in the distance which, by the telescope, was proved to be the returning wanderer.

I remarked that his skiff sailed at a slower rate than usual towards the shore. The cannon was fired to let him
know that his approach was observed, and then we joyfully hurried back to receive him at the harbour.

It was easy to see, as he drew near, what had delayed his progress. The cajack towed a large sack, besides being
heavily laden. `Welcome, Fritz!' I cried. `Welcome back, wherever you come from and whatever you bring.
You seem to have quite a cargo there!'

`Yes, and my trip has led to discoveries as well as booty,' answered he. `Interesting discoveries which will
tempt us again in the same direction. Come, boys, let's carry up the things, and while I rest I will relate my

As soon as possible all assembled round him. `I think my absence without leave deserves reproach instead of
this warm reception, father, and I must apologize for it,' he began, `but ever since I possessed the cajack it has
been my ambition to make a voyage of discovery along the coast, which we have never explored beyond the
point at which I killed the walrus.

`In order to be ready to start without delay when a convenient opportunity offered, I made preparations
beforehand, such as provisioning my skiff, fixing the compass in front of my seat, arranging conveniently rifle,
harpoon, axe, boat-hook and fishing-net. I also resolved to take with me Pounce, my eagle, and this I always
will do in future.

`This morning dawned magnificently; the calm sea, the gentle breeze, all drew me irresistibly to the fulfilment
of my purpose.

`I left the harbour unperceived, the current quickly bore me out to sea, and I rounded the point to the left,
passing just over the spot where, beneath the waves, lie the guns, cannon balls, ironwork, and all that was
indestructible about our good old wreck. And would you believe it? Through the glassy clear water, undisturbed
by a ripple, I actually saw many such things strewn on the flat rocky bottom.

`Pursuing my way, I passed among rugged cliffs and rocks which jutted out from the shore, or rose in rugged
masses from the water. Myriads of sea-fowl inhabited the most inaccessible of these, while on the lower
ridges, seals, sea-bears and walruses, were to be seen, some basking lazily in the sun, some plunging into the
water, or emerging awkwardly from it, hoisting their unwieldy bodies up the rocks by means of their tusks.

`I must confess to feeling anything but comfortable while going through the places held in possession by these
monsters of the deep, and used every effort to pass quickly and unnoticed. Yet it was more than an hour and a
half before I got clear of the rocks, cliffs, and shoals to which they resorted, and neared a high and precipitous
cape, running far out to sea. Right opposite to me, in the side of this rocky wall, was a magnificent archway,
forming as it first appeared to me, a lofty entrance to an immense vaulted cavern. I passed beneath this
noble portal and examined the interior.

`It was tenanted by numbers of a small species of swallow, scarcely larger than a wren, and the walls were
covered by thousands of their nests. They were rudely built, and their peculiarity was that each rested on a kind
of platform, something like a spoon without the handle. I detached a number, and found that they had a curious
appearance, seemingly made of something fibrous and gelatinous, and more like a set of sponges, corals, or
fungi, than nests of birds. I have brought them home in my fishing net.'

`If we had commercial dealings with the Chinese,' said I, `your discovery would be of value; these are doubtless
edible birds' nests. The bird is called the esculent swallow, and the trade in this strange article of diet is a very
large one. The nests are of different value, but those which are quite new, and nearly white, are held in such
esteem that they are worth their weight in silver.

`There are tremendous caverns in Java and other places where, at great risk, these nests are procured; the annual
weight obtained being upwards of fifty thousand pounds, and the value more than £200,000.

`When placed in water and well soaked, they soften and swell, and are made into soup of very strengthening
and restorative quality.

`I think you might try your hand on these, mother, just for curiosity's sake.'

`I can't say I fancy the look of the queer things,' said she, `but I don't mind trying if they will turn to jelly;
though boiling birds' nests is cookery quite out of my line.'

`Oh do, mother, let us taste birds' nests as soon as you can, though the idea makes me fancy my mouth full of
feathers!' laughed Jack.

`It is really a most curious formation,' said Fritz. `From whence are the swallows supposed to get this kind of

`It has never been exactly ascertained,' I replied, `whether the birds discover or produce this curious substance.
But whatever may be its basis, it is clear that a very large portion of it is furnished by certain glands, which pour
out a viscid secretion.'

`After laying in my store of nests,' continued Fritz, `I pursued my way through this vaulted cave or corridor;
which, presently turning, opened into a very lonely bay, so calm and lake-like, that, although of considerable
size, I concluded at once it must be nearly land-locked.

Its shores, beyond the rocky boundary through which I penetrated, extended in a fertile plain towards what
seemed the mouth of a river, beyond which lay rough and probably marshy ground, and a dense forest
of cedars, which closed the view.

`The water beneath me was clear as crystal; and, gazing into its depths and shallows, I perceived beds of
shellfish, like large oysters, attached to the rocks and to each other by tufts of hairy filaments.

`"If these are oysters," thought I, "they must be better worth eating, as far as size goes, than our little friends in
Safety Bay," and thereupon I hooked up several clusters with my boat-hook, and landing soon after on the
beach, I flung them on the sand, resolving to fetch another load, and then tow them after me in the fishing-net.
`The hot sun disagreed with their constitution, I suppose; for when I came back the shells were all gaping wide
open; so I began to examine them, thinking that after all they were probably much less delicate than the small
oysters we have learnt to like so much.

`Somehow, when a thing is to be "examined", one generally needs a knife. The blade met with resistance here
and there in the creature's body; and still closer "examination" produced from it several pearly balls, like peas,
of different sizes. Do you think they can be pearls? I have a number here in a box.'

`Oh, show them to us, Fritz!' cried the boys. `What pretty shining things! And how delicately rounded! And
how softly they gleam!'

`You have discovered treasure, indeed!' I exclaimed. `Why these are most beautiful pearls! Valueless, certainly,
under present circumstances; but they may prove a source of wealth, should we ever again come into contact
with the civilized world. We must visit your pearl-oyster beds at the earliest opportunity.'

`After resting for some time and refreshing myself with food,' pursued Fritz, `I resumed my survey of the coast,
my progress somewhat impeded by the bag of shellfish, which I drew after me; but I proceeded without
accident past the mouth of the stream to the further side of the bay, which was there enclosed by a point
corresponding to that through which I had entered; and between these headlands I found a line of reefs and
sand-banks, with but a single channel leading out to the open sea; from which, therefore, Pearl Bay, as I named
it, lies completely sheltered.

`The tide was setting strongly in shore, so that I could not then attempt a passage through it, but examined the
crags of the headland, thinking I might perchance discover a second vaulted archway. I saw nothing remarkable,
however, but thousands of sea-fowl of every sort and kind, from the gull and sea-swallow to the mighty

`My approach was evidently regarded as an invasion and trespass; for they regularly beset me, screaming and
wheeling over my head, till, out of all patience, I stood up, and hit furiously about me with the boat-hook; when,
rather to my surprise, one blow struck an albatross with such force, that he fell stunned into the water.

`I now once more attempted to cross the reef by the narrow channel, and happily succeeding, found myself in
the open sea, and speeding homewards, joyfully saw our flag flying, and heard the welcome salute you fired.'

Here ended the narrative; but next morning Fritz drew me aside, and confided to me a most remarkable sequel,
in these words:

`There was something very extraordinary about that albatross, father. I allowed you to suppose that I left it as it
fell, but in reality I raised it to the deck of the canoe, and then perceived a piece of rag wound round one of its
legs. This I removed, and, to my utter astonishment, saw English words written on it, which I plainly made out
to be "Save an unfortunate Englishwoman from the smoking rock!"

`This little sentence sent a thrill through every nerve: my brain seemed to whirl. I doubted the evidence of my

`"Is this reality, or delusion?" thought I, "Can it be true, that a fellow creature breathes with us the air of this
lonely region?"

`I felt stupefied for some minutes: the bird began to show signs of life, which recalled me to myself; and,
quickly deciding what must be done, I tore a strip from my handkerchief, on which I traced the words, "Do not
despair! Help is near!"
`This I carefully bound round one leg, replacing the rag on the other, and then applied myself to the complete
restoration of the bird. It gradually revived; and after drinking a little, surprised me by suddenly rising on the
wing, faltering a moment in its flight, and then rapidly disappearing from my view in a westerly direction.

`Now, father, one thought occupies me continually: will my note ever reach this Englishwoman? Shall I be able
to find, and to save her?' I listened to this account with feelings of the liveliest interest and astonishment.

`My dear son,' said I, `you have done wisely in confiding to me alone your most exciting discovery. Unless we
know more, we must not unsettle the others by speaking of it; for it appears to me quite possible that these
words were penned long ago on some distant shore, where, by this time, the unhappy stranger may have
perished miserably. By the "smoking rock" must be meant a volcano. There are none here.'

Fritz was not disposed to look at the case from this gloomy point of view; did not think the rag so very old;
believed smoke might rise from a rock which was not volcanic; and evidently cherished the hope that he
might be able to respond effectually to this touching appeal. I was in reality as anxious as himself on the
subject, but judged it prudent to abate rather than excite hopes of success which might be doomed to bitter

After earnest consultation on the subject, we decided that Fritz should go in search of the writer of the message,
but not until he had so altered the canoe as to fit it for carrying two persons, as well as provisions sufficient to
admit of his absence for a considerable time.
Impatient as he was, he could not but see the wisdom of this delay. We returned to the house, and saw the boys
busily opening the oysters, which they had had no time to do the previous night, and greatly excited as ever and
anon a pearl was found.

`May we not establish a pearl-fishery at once, father?' shouted they. `We might build a hut on the shore of the
bay and set about it regularly.'

An excursion to Pearl Bay was now the event to which all thoughts turned, and for which preparations on a
grand scale were made. It was to form, as it were, the basis of the more important voyage Fritz had in view, and
to which, unsuspected by the rest, he could devote all his attention.

I took an opportunity, one day, when all were present, to remark in a serious tone:

`I have been considering, dear wife, that our eldest son is now of an age to be dependent on himself. I shall,
therefore, henceforth leave him at liberty to act in all respects according to his own judgement; and, especially
in the matter of voyages or excursions, he must not be hampered by the fear of alarming us should he choose to
remain absent longer than we expect. I have such entire confidence in his prudence, and at the same time in his
affection for us, that I am certain he will never needlessly cause us anxiety.'

Fritz looked gratefully towards me as I spoke; and his mother ratified my words, embracing him affectionately,
and saying, with emotion, `God bless and preserve thee, my boy!'

It took some time to make several raking or scraping machines, which I invented for the purpose of detaching
and lifting the oysters from their native rocks; but that gave Fritz leisure to change the fittings of his canoe, so
as to have a spare seat in it.

His brothers naturally concluded he meant to take one of them as shipmate on board, and he allowed the
mistake to continue.

They occupied themselves in making various articles they expected to be of use, and bore the delay with
tolerable patience.
At last came the day, when, taking leave of my wife and Franz, we went on board the yacht, accompanied by
some of the dogs; while Jack, proudly occupying the new seat beside Fritz in the canoe, shared with him the
honour of leading the way in the character of pilots.

We passed safely through the rocks and shoals near Walrus Island into an expanse of calm water, sheltered by
jutting cliffs, where the sea glanced like a mirror, and for the first time we observed the fairy-like shells of the
paper-nautilus sailing lightly over the dazzling surface.

It was impossible to see these lovely seafarers without wishing to obtain specimens; and the canoe accordingly
gave chase, presently securing half a dozen, which were handed to us in the yacht to be carefully preserved for
the museum, and the place was ever after called Nautilus Creek.

Further on we rounded a short promontory, flat, with an abrupt rock at the extremity, to which we gave the
name of Cape Pug-Nose; and then, at some distance, appeared the grand cliffs of a headland running far out
to sea.

This I supposed we should have to weather, but my pilots made no change in our course, and, following the
canoe, we soon came in sight of the majestic archway which offered us a short passage to Pearl Bay.

The wonderfully architectural appearance of the pillars, arches and pinnacles, surrounding and surmounting this
noble entrance, struck me with admiration, resembling parts of a fine gothic cathedral, and inducing me to
propose for it the name Cape Minster.

A perfect cloud of little swallows darted from the cavernous entrance on our approach, divided into flocks,
soared, wheeled, flew right and left, and finally returned in a body as swiftly as they came, to the sides of the
long dark tunnel, which were festooned with their nests.

We detached a number of these as we passed, taking care to leave those containing eggs or young. The best
were at a considerable height, but the broken and shelving rocks afforded, in some places, footing for such
daring and active climbers as Fritz and Jack, and they quickly obtained as many as we could possibly require.

Our progress was much assisted by the tide, which, like a current, bore us onward along the nave of this natural
cathedral; aisles, transepts, screens and side-chapels appearing between the columns and arches which in the
`dim religious light' were revealed to our wondering eyes.

On emerging into the dazzling sunshine, we found ourselves floating in the calm expanse of Pearl Bay; but it
was some minutes before we could look around on the bright and lovely scene.

Fritz had not overrated its beauty, and the romantic islets which studded its waters seemed to give the effect of a
pleasant smile to features already perfect.

We cruised about for some time, surveying the coast with its fertile meadows, shady groves, gently swelling
hills and murmuring brooks, seeking a convenient landing-place in the vicinity of the shallows where lay the

This we found, close to a sparkling streamlet; and, as the day was fast declining, we made speedy arrangements
for burning a watch-fire; after which we partook of a hasty supper, and leaving the dogs, with Coco, the jackal,
to sleep on shore, we returned on board the yacht for the night, anchoring within gunshot of the land.

The coast being quite strange to us, I knew not what wild beasts might frequent it; but, though I did not fear that
any would approach us by swimming, yet I was glad to have with us our lively little ape, Mercury (the
successor of our old favourite, Knips, long since gathered to his fathers), for he occupied at night a cosy berth
on deck, and was certain to give vociferous notice should anything alarming occur.

Fritz moored the cajack alongside, and came on board. The night passed in peace, although for a time we were
disturbed by the yelping of jackals, with whom Coco persisted in keeping up a noisy conversation.

We awoke at daybreak, and after breakfasting a la fourchette, we repaired in haste with nets, scrapers and all
other requisites, to the oyster-beds, where we worked with such diligence and success that in the course of two
days we had an immense pile of shells built up like a stack on the beach, and left to decay. I collected a quantity
of seaweed to spread over them, which was afterwards burnt to make alkali, when we returned to secure our
harvest of pearls.

Every evening we went out shooting in the neighbourhood, and kept ourselves supplied with game of one sort
or another. The last day of our fishery we started earlier, intending to make a longer excursion into the woods.

Ernest set off first with Floss; Jack and Coco strolling after them. Fritz and I were still employed in taking on
board the last load of our tools, when we suddenly heard a shot, a loud cry of pain or fear, and then another

At the first alarm, the other two dogs rushed away from us towards the spot, and Fritz, who had just called
Pounce from his perch, to accompany us in the ramble, let him fly, and seizing his rifle darted off in the same

Before I could reach the scene of action, more shots were heard, and then a shout of victory; after which
appeared through the stems of the trees the disconsolate figure of Jack, hobbling along like a cripple, supported
on each side by his brothers.

When they came near me they stopped; and poor Jack, moaning and groaning, began to feel himself all over, as
if to search for broken bones, crying out:

`I'm pounded like a half-crushed pepper-corn!'

On examination I found some severe bruises. `Who or what has been pummelling the boy?' I exclaimed. `One
would think he had been beaten.'

`It was a huge wild boar,' said Ernest, `with fierce eyes, monstrous tusks and a snout as broad as my hand.'

We took Jack down to the yacht, bathed his bruises, gave him a cooling drink, and he soon fell fast asleep in his
berth, where I left him and returned to the shore.

`Now, Ernest,' said I, `enlighten me on the subject of this adventure! What you and the boar did, is quite a
mystery to me.'

`Floss and I were going quietly along,' replied he, `when suddenly there was a rustling and snorting close by,
and a great boar broke through the bushes, making for the outskirts of the wood. Floss gave chase directly, and
the boar turned to bay. Then up came Jack with Coco, and the gallant little jackal attacked the monster in the

In another moment, however, he was sent sprawling upon his back, and this so provoked his master that he fired
a hasty ill-directed shot. The brute's notice and fury at once turned upon Jack, who prudently took to his heels,
while I attempted to check the career of the boar by a shot, which, however, only slightly wounded it.
`Jack stumbled and fell over the root of a tree, just as the animal came up with him. "Help! Murder," shouted
he; and if the other dogs had not then arrived, and all together tackled the boar, I fear it would have been a case
of murder indeed! As it was, the poor fellow got mauled and trampled upon dreadfully.

`As I was waiting for an opportunity to fire without any risk of hitting Jack, Pounce rushed through the air and
darted upon the beast, and Fritz came quickly up and shot it dead with a pistol.

`While we were helping Jack along, and passing a place where the boar had been grubbing, I noticed some such
curious knotty roots or tubercles, that I brought away specimens. Are they worth anything, do you think? They
have a strong smell.'

`If I may trust my nose,' said I, `you have brought something by no means to be despised. Yes,' I continued,
putting them to my lips, `these are very fine truffles! Taste them, Fritz.'

`Indeed they are excellent,' said he, `very different from the tough, leathery things I remember in Europe: these
are tender and well-flavoured.'

`Because they are fresh,' said I. `You have before tasted those only which have been brought from a distance.

`They are found in different parts of Europe, buried at a depth of ten or twelve inches in the soil of oak or beech
woods. A small dog is employed to hunt for them, who perceives their musky odour in a singularly acute way,
and at once scratches at the spot where they lie.'

`Have the truffles no leaves or stalks,' inquired Fritz, `by which they might be found without the help of the

`They have nothing of the sort,' I replied. `They are discovered simply by scent, and are considered to belong to
the tribe of Fungi.'

By this time it was late: we took supper, made up the watch-fire, and withdrew to our yacht, where we slept

Early next morning we proceeded to visit the field of battle. The wild boar, which I had not before seen, proved
to be much larger and more formidable in appearance than I had imagined, and Jack's escape seemed to me
perfectly marvellous.

The boys took it as a matter of course that we were to cut out hams and flitches; and we therefore did so, though
I warned them that they need not expect much pleasure in eating bacon from a tough old African boar like this.
We conveyed the mighty hams to the beach, each on a sledge of plaited boughs and twigs, and drawn by one of
the dogs. The monstrous head travelled in the same way, and we collected a large number of truffles before
quitting the forest.

As soon as the dogs were released, they rushed back to the scene of operations in the wood, comprehending that
they were now free to feast on what remained there.

There was so much to be done in consequence of this affair, that Fritz, who had hoped to set out on his solitary
expedition that day, deferred it until the next; and was, therefore, fortunately with us, when late in the evening
we desisted from our labours, and having supped, were preparing to retire to rest. All at once a deep fearful
sound echoed through the neighbouring woods. It made our blood curdle in our veins. We listened with
straining ears, hoping it would not be repeated. With a shudder we heard the dread voice roar again, yet nearer
to us, and an answer peal from the distance.
`We must find out who are the performers in this concert!' exclaimed Fritz, springing to his feet, and snatching
up his rifle. `Make the fire blaze, get on board the yacht, and have all the guns in readiness. I am off to
reconnoitre in the canoe.'

We mechanically obeyed his rapid orders, while the bold youth disappeared in the darkness; and, after heaping
fuel on the fire, we went on board and armed ourselves with cutlasses, besides loading all the guns, waiting in
readiness either to land again, or to quit the coast.

We presently saw the whole pack of our dogs, as well as Coco, the jackal, and the little ape, Mercury (who had
been tempted by the truffles to stay with them in the woods), come galloping at full speed up to the fire.

Mercury was evidently excessively discomposed at finding us gone; he gnashed his teeth, and chattered, as
though in fear, looking hopelessly at the water, through which he could not venture.

The dogs planted themselves by the fire, gazing fixedly landward, with ears erect, and occasionally uttering a
barking challenge, or a suppressed howl.

Meantime, the horrid roarings approached nearer, and I concluded that a couple of leopards or panthers had
been attracted by the scent of the boar's carcase.

But not long after I had expressed this opinion, we beheld a large powerful animal spring from the underwood
and, with a bound and muttered roar, approach the fire. In a moment I recognized the unmistakable outlines of
the form of a lion, though in size he far surpassed any I had ever seen exhibited in Europe.

The dogs slunk behind the fire, and the lion seated himself almost like a cat on his hind legs, glaring alternately
at them, and at the great boar hams which hung near, with doubtless a mixed feeling of irritation and appetite,
which was testified by the restless movement of his tail.

He then arose, and commenced walking up and down with slow and measured pace, occasionally uttering short,
angry roars, quite unlike the prolonged full tones we had heard at first. At times he went to drink at the brook,
always returning with such haste, that I fully expected to see him spring.

Gradually his manner became more and more threatening; he turned towards us, crouched, and with his body at
full stretch, waved his tail, and glared so furiously, that I was in doubt whether to fire or retreat, when through
the darkness rang the sharp crack of a rifle.

`That is Fritz!' exclaimed everyone; while, with a fearful roar, the lion sprang to his feet, stood stock still,
tottered, sank on his knees, rolled over, and lay motionless on the sand.

`We are saved!' I cried. `That was a masterly shot. The lion is struck to the heart: he will never stir again. Stay
on board, boys. I must join my brave Fritz.'

In a few moments I landed: the dogs met me with evident tokens of pleasure, but kept whining uneasily, and
looking towards the deep darkness of the woods whence the lion had come.

This behaviour made me cautious; and, seeing nothing of Fritz, I lingered by the boat, when suddenly a lioness
bounded from the shadow of the trees, into the light diffused by the fire.

At sight of the blazing faggots she paused, as though startled; passed with uncertain step round the outskirts of
the illuminated circle; and uttered roarings, which were evidently calls to her mate, whose dead body she
presently discovered.
Finding him motionless, her manner betokened the greatest concern; she touched him with her forepaws, smelt
round him, and licked his bleeding wounds. Then raising her head, she gnashed her teeth, and gave forth the
most lamentable and dreadful sound I ever heard; a mingled roar and howl, which was like the expression of
grief, rage, and a vow to be revenged, all in one.

Crack! Another shot: the creature's right forepaw was lamed; and the dogs, seeing me raise my gun, suddenly
gathered courage, and ran forward just as I fired. My shot also wounded the lioness, but not mortally, and the
most terrific combat ensued.

It was impossible to fire again, for fear of wounding the dogs. The scene was fearful beyond description. Black
night surrounded us; the fitful blaze of the fire shed a strange, unnatural light on the prostrate body of the huge
dead lion, and on the wounded lioness, who fought desperately against the attack of the four gallant dogs; while
the cries, roars and groans of anguish and fury uttered by all the animals were enough to try the stoutest nerves.

Old Juno, staunch to the last, was foremost in the fray. After a time, I saw her change her plan of attack, and
spring at the throat of the lioness; who, in an instant, raised her left paw, and at one blow the cruel claws had
laid open the body of the dog, and destroyed the life of the true and faithful companion of so many years.

Just then, Fritz appeared. The lioness was much weakened, and we ventured to go near enough to fire with
safety to ourselves; and finally I dispatched her by plunging a hunting-knife deep in her breast.

Ernest and Jack were summoned from the yacht to witness the completed victory; and I regretted having left
them on board, when I saw how greatly the noise and tumult had alarmed them, unable as they were to ascertain
what was going on.

They hastened towards us in great agitation, and their joy on seeing us safe was only equalled by the grief they
felt on learning of the death of Juno.

The night was now far advanced; the fire burnt low; but we piled on more wood, and, by the renewed light,
drew poor Juno from between the paws of the lioness; and, by the brookside, washed and bound up the torn
body, wrapping it carefully in canvas, and carrying it with us on board the yacht, that it might be buried at
Rockburg, whither, on the following day, it was our purpose to return.

Wearied and sorrowful, but full of thankfulness for our personal safety, we at length lay down to sleep, having
brought all the dogs on board.

Next morning, before quitting Pearl Bay, we once more landed, that we might possess ourselves of the
magnificent skins of the lion and lioness, whose visit, fatal to themselves, had caused such a commotion during
the night.

In about a couple of hours we returned to the yacht, leaving the flayed carcasses to the tender mercies of the
birds of prey sure to be attracted to them.

`Homeward bound,' sang out the boys, as they cheerily weighed anchor, and prepared to stand out to sea. I
could see, though he did not complain, that poor Jack had not yet recovered from the boar's rough treatment,
and moved very stiffly.

`You must pilot us through the channel in the reef, this time, Fritz,' said I; adding, in a lower tone, `and then is
it to be "farewell", my son!'

`Yes, dear father--Au revoir!' returned he, brightly with a glance full of meaning, while he threw into his canoe
a cushion and fur cloak.
`Thanks, Fritz! But I'm going to honour them with the care of my battered bones in the yacht here. You are
awfully considerate though, old fellow,' remarked Jack, not for a moment doubting that his brother expected
him to return, as he came, beside him in the cajack.

Fritz laughed, and commended his decision. Then, springing into his skiff, he led the way towards the open sea.

We followed carefully and soon passed the reef; after which the boys were very busy with the sails, putting the
vessel on the homeward course, when, waving his hand to me, Fritz turned in the opposite direction, and
quickly vanished behind the point, which I afterwards named Cape Farewell.

When missed by his brothers, I said he had a fancy to explore more of the coast, and if he found it interesting,
he might, instead of only a few hours, remain absent for two or three days.

Towards evening, we sailed into Safety Bay.
                                                Chapter 17
My wife and Franz, though somewhat startled by the unexpected absence of Fritz, were delighted to see us
return safely, and listened with eager interest to our adventures. My wife shuddered, and scarcely suppressed an
involuntary scream as she heard of our desperate encounter with the lion and his mate. Jack's danger and
providential escape, too, made her tremble; and so pale did he still look, that she could scarcely believe he was

Tears came into Franz's eyes when he heard of the sad death of poor old Juno; and he inquired most tenderly
whether her remains had been brought back, that they might be interred near the house which had been her
home for so many years.

Next day he saw her buried carefully; and Ernest, at his request, produced an epitaph, which was inscribed upon
a slab of stone above her grave.


  'A servant true lies here:

  'A faithful friend,

  'A Dog,

  'To all most dear;

  'Who met her end

  'Fighting right bravely in her master's cause.

The flesh of the wild boar and the truffles were handed over to my wife, who received them with delight,
promising us therefrom many a savoury dish. She would fain have had the boar's head too; but my word
was pledged to Ernest that it should adorn his museum, and, though my lips watered to taste it baked in
Hottentot fashion, I would not break my promise. This splendid head, therefore, together with the lions'
skins, we carried to the tannery on Whale Island, where they were cleaned and dressed.

Five days passed, but Fritz still remained absent. I could not conceal my anxiety, and at length determined to
follow him. All were delighted at the proposal, and even my wife, when she heard that we were to sail in the
pinnace, agreed to accompany us.

The boat was stored, and on a bright morning, with a favourable breeze, we five, with the dogs, stepped aboard,
and ran for Cape Minster.

Our beautiful little yacht bounded over the water gaily, and the bright sunshine and delicious sea-breeze put us
all in the highest spirits. The entrance of the archway was in sight, and thither I was directing the boat's course.

Suddenly, right ahead, I saw a dark and shadowy mass just below the surface of the water. `A sunken rock,' I
thought to myself, `and yet it is strange that I never before noticed it.'

I put down the helm in a moment, but a catastrophe seemed inevitable. We surged ahead! A slight shock, and all
was over! The danger was passed!
I glanced astern, to look again at the dangerous spot; but the rock was gone, and, where but a moment before I
had distinctly seen its great green shadow, I could now see nothing.

Before we had recovered from our amazement, a shout from Jack surprised me.

`There is another,' he exclaimed, `to starboard, father!' Sure enough, there lay, apparently, another sunken rock.

`The rock is moving!' shouted Franz; and a great black body emerged from the sea, while from the upper
extremity rushed a column of water, which, with a mighty noise, rose upwards, and then fell like rain all
around. The mystery was explained; for, as the great beast emerged yet further from the water, I recognized,
from its enormous size and great length of head, the cachalot whale.

The monster was apparently enraged at the way we had scratched his back; for, retreating to a short distance, he
evidently meditated a rush upon us.

Fearful stories occurred to me of the savage temper of this whale, how he has been known to destroy boat after
boat, and even to sink great ships, and with a feeling of desperation I sprang to one of the guns. Jack leaped to
the other, and almost simultaneously we fired. Both shots apparently took effect; for the whale, after lashing the
water violently for a few seconds, plunged beneath its surface, and disappeared.

We kept a sharp look-out for him, for I was unwilling to lose such a valuable prize and, reloading, stood
towards the shore, in which direction he was apparently making. Presently we again sighted him in shallow
water, lashing fearfully with his tail, and dyeing the waves around him with blood. Approaching the infuriated
animal as nearly as I dared, we again fired.

The struggles of the whale seemed for a few moments to become even yet more frantic, and then, with a quiver
from head to tail, he lay motionless--dead!

The boys were about to raise a cry of victory, but checked the shout upon their very lips; for darting behind a
rock they espied a canoe paddled by a tall and muscular savage, who now stood up in his skiff and appeared to
be examining us attentively. Seeing that we were standing towards him, the swarthy native seized his paddle
and again darted behind a rock. An awful thought now took possession of me. There must be a tribe of blacks
lurking on these shores, and Fritz must have fallen into their hands.

We, however, I determined, should not be easily taken; and our guns were loaded and run out.

Presently a dusky face appeared, peeping at us from a lofty rock: it vanished, and we saw another peeping at us
from lower down.

Then again the skiff put out as though to make a further reconnoitre. All, even Jack, looked anxious, and
glanced at me for orders.

`Hoist a white flag,' said I, `and hand me the speaking-trumpet.' I seized the instrument and uttered such
peaceable words in the Malay language as I could recall: neither the flag nor my words seemed to produce any
effect, and the savage was about to return to the shore.

Jack hereupon lost patience, and in his turn took up the trumpet. `Come here, you black son of a gun,' he
exclaimed. `Come on board and make friends, or we'll blow you and your--'

`Stop! Stop! You foolish boy,' I said. `You will but alarm the man, with your wild words and gestures.'
`No! But see,' he cried, `he is paddling towards us!'

And sure enough the canoe was rapidly approaching. Presently a cry from Franz alarmed me. `Look! Look!' he
shrieked. `The villain is in Fritz's cajack. I can see the walrus' head.'

Ernest alone remained unmoved. He took the speaking-trumpet: `Fritz, ahoy!' he shouted. `Welcome, old

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when I, too, recognized the well-known face, beneath its dusky

In another minute the brave boy was on board, and in spite of his blackened face was kissed and welcomed
heartily. He was now assailed with a storm of questions from all sides: Where had he been? What had kept him
so long, and why had he turned blackamoor?

`The last question,' replied he, with a smile, `is the only one I will now answer; the others shall be explained
when I give a full account of my adventures. Hearing guns fired, my mind was instantly filled with ideas of
Malay pirates, for I never dreamed that you could be here in the yacht, so I disguised myself as you now see me,
and came forth to reconnoitre. When you addressed me in Malay you only added to my terror, for it left not a
doubt in my mind that you were pirates.'

Having in our turn described to him our adventure with the cachalot whale, I asked him if he knew of a suitable
spot for the anchorage of the yacht.

`Certainly,' he replied, casting towards me a glance full of meaning. `I can lead you to an island where there is
splendid anchorage, and which is itself well worth seeing, for it contains all sorts of strange things.' And after
removing the stains from his skin, he again sprang into his canoe and piloted us to a picturesque little island in
the bay.

Now that there could be no doubt as to the success of Fritz's expedition, I no longer hesitated to give to my wife
an account of his project, and to prepare her mind for the surprise which awaited her.
She was greatly startled, as I expected, and seemed almost overcome with emotion at the idea of seeing a
human being, and that being one of her own sex.

`But why,' she asked, `did you not tell me of this at first? Why wait until the last moment with such joyful

`I was unwilling,' I replied, `to raise hopes which might never be realized; but now, thank Heaven, he has
succeeded, and there is no need for concealment.'

The boys could not at all understand the evident air of mystery and suppressed excitement which neither their
mother, Fritz, nor I could entirely conceal. They cast glances of the greatest curiosity towards the island, and as
soon as the sails were furled and the anchor dropped, they sprang eagerly ashore. In a body we followed Fritz,
maintaining perfect silence.

Presently we emerged from the thicket through which we were passing, and saw before us a hut of sheltering
boughs, at the entrance of which burned a cheerful fire.

Into this leafy bower Fritz dived, leaving his brothers without, mute with astonishment. In another moment he
emerged, leading by the hand a slight, handsome youth, by his dress apparently a young English naval
officer. The pair advanced to meet us; and Fritz, with a countenance radiant with joy, briefly introduced his
companion as Edward Montrose.
`And,' he continued, looking at his mother and me, `will you not welcome him as a friend and a brother to our
family circle?'

`That will we, indeed!' I exclaimed, advancing and holding out my hands to the fair young stranger. `Our wild
life may have roughened our looks and manners, but it has not hardened our hearts, I trust.'

The mother, too, embraced the seeming youth most heartily. The lads, and even the dogs, were not behind-hand
in testifying their gratification at the appearance of their new friend--the former delighted at the idea of a fresh
companion, and the latter won by her sweet voice and appearance.

From the expressions made use of by Fritz I perceived that the girl wished her sex to remain unrevealed to the
rest of the party until my wife could obtain for her a costume more suited to her real character.

The young men then ran down to the yacht to bring up what was necessary for supper, as well as to make
preparations for a camp in which we might spend the night. This done, my wife hastened to set before us a
substantial meal, while the boys, anxious to make their new acquaintance feel at home amongst them, were
doing their best to amuse her. She herself, after the first feeling of strangeness had worn off, entered fully into
all their fun; and by the time they sat down to supper was laughing and chatting as gaily as any one of the rest.
She admired the various dishes, tasted our mead and, without alluding once to her previous life, kept up a lively

The mere fact of meeting with any human being after so many years of isolation was in itself sufficient to raise
the boys to the greatest state of excitement; but that this being should be one so handsome; so gay, so perfectly
charming, seemed completely to have fumed their heads; and when I gave the sign for the breaking-up of the
feast, and their new friend was about to be led to the night-quarters which had been prepared for her on board
the yacht, the health of Edward Montrose was proposed, and drunk in fragrant mead, amidst the cheers and
acclamations of all hands.

When she was gone, and silence had been restored, Jack exclaimed: `Now, then, Fritz, if you please, just tell me
where you came across this jolly fellow. Did you take your mysterious voyage in search of him, or did you meet
him by chance? Out with your adventures, while we sit comfortably round the fire.'

So saying, Jack cast more wood upon the blazing pile, and throwing himself down in his usual careless fashion,
prepared to listen attentively.

Fritz, after a few moments' hesitation, began: `Perhaps you remember,' said he, `how, when I returned from my
expedition in the cajack the other day, I struck down an albatross. None but my father at the time knew,
however, what became of the wounded bird, or even thought more about it. Yet it was that albatross who
brought me notice of the shipwrecked stranger; and he, too, I determined should carry back a message, to cheer
and encourage the sender.

`I first, as you know, prepared my cajack to carry two persons; and then, with a heart full of hope and trust, left
you and the yacht, and, with Pounce seated before me, made for the open sea. For several hours I paddled
steadily on, till, the wind freshening, I thought it advisable to keep in nearer shore; that, should a regular storm
arise, I might find some sheltered bay in which to weather it.

`It was well I did so; for, scarcely had I reached a quiet cove which promised to afford me the protection I
desired, than the sea appeared one mass of foam: great surging waves arose; and even in the comparative calm
of the bay I felt that I was in some danger.
`I passed the night in my cajack; and next morning, after a frugal meal of pemmican, and a draught of water
from my flask, once more ventured forth. The wind had subsided, the sea was tolerably smooth; and, keeping
my eyes busily employed in seeking in every direction to detect, if possible, the slightest trace of smoke, or
other sign of human life, I paddled on till noon.

`The aspect of the coast now began to change: the shores were sandy, while further inland lay dense forests,
from whose gloomy depths I could ever and anon hear the fierce roar of beasts of prey, the yell of apes, the
fiendish laugh of the hyaena, or the despairing death cry of a hapless deer. Seldom have I experienced a greater
feeling of solitude than whilst listening to these strange sounds, and knowing that I in this frail canoe was the
only human being near. Giving myself up to contemplation, I rested my paddle, and allowed my cajack to drift
slowly on.

`As I neared the shore, I noticed a large number of strange-looking birds, who would sometimes flutter round
me, and then dart back again to the border of the forest, where they were feeding on what appeared to be the
pepper-plant; they seized the berries in their great ponderous beaks, threw them up into the air and then
exterously caught them in their fall. Their beaks were really something extraordinary: they looked as though
they must give their owners a perpetual headache, from their immense weight. The only thing that relieved the
extreme ugliness of these great appendages was their gorgeous colour, which was only rivalled by the gay hue
of the plumage.

`I wish now that I had brought home a specimen; but, at the time, I was so much amused by watching the
grotesque antics of the birds, that I did not think of obtaining one. When I left the spot, I settled in my own mind
that they were toucans: was I right, Ernest?'

The `Professor', unwilling to interrupt the narrative, merely gave an oracular nod, and Fritz continued:

`For some hours after this I paddled quickly on, sometimes passing the mouth of a stream, sometimes that of a
broad river. Had I been merely on an exploring expedition, I should have been tempted, doubtless, to cruise a
little way up one of these pathways into the forest; but now such an idea did not enter my head. On, on, on, I felt
I must go, until I should reach the goal of my voyage.

`The shades of night at length drew on and, finding a sheltered cove, I moored my cajack, and stepped on shore.
You may imagine how pleasant it was to stretch my legs, after sitting for so long in the cramped position which
my cajack enforces.

It would not do, however, to sleep on shore; so after preparing and enjoying my supper, I returned on board, and
there spent the night.

`Next morning Pounce and I again landed for breakfast. I lit my fire, and hung before it a plump young parrot to
roast. As I was so doing, I heard a slight rustle amongst the long grass behind me. I glanced round, and there,
with glaring eyes, and his great tail swaying to and fro, I saw an immense tiger.

`In another moment his spring would have been made. I should have been no more, and our young guest would
have been doomed to, God only knows how many, more years of frightful solitude!

`My gun was lying by my side. Before I could have stooped to pick it up, the monster would have seized me.

`Pounce saw and comprehended my danger: the heroic bird darted upon my enemy, and so blinded him with his
flapping wings, and the fierce blows of his beak, that his spring was checked, and I had time to recover my self-
possession. I seized my gun and fired; and the brute, pierced to the heart, gave one spring, and then rolled over
at my feet.
`My enemy was dead; but beside him--alas!--lay poor Pounce, crushed and lifeless. One blow of the great
beast's paw had struck him down, never to rise again!' Fritz's voice shook as he came to this point; and,
after remaining silent for a moment or two, he continued, hurriedly:

`With a sad and desolate feeling at my heart, I buried the faithful bird where he had met his death; and then,
unable longer to continue near the spot, I returned to my cajack, and leaving the great tiger lying where he fell,
paddled hastily away.

`My thoughts were gloomy. I felt as though, now that my companion was gone, I could no longer continue the
voyage. The albatross, I thought, may have flown for hundreds of miles before it reached me. This stranger may
be on different shores from these entirely; every stroke of my paddle may be carrying me further from the
blazing signal: who knows?

`This feeling of discouragement was not, however, to be of long duration; for in a moment more a sight
presented itself, which banished all my doubts and fears, and raised me to the highest pitch of excitement.

`A high point of land lay before me. I rounded it, and beyond found a calm and pleasant bay, from whose
curved and thickly wooded shores ran out a reef of rocks. From the point of this reef rose a column of smoke,
steadily and clearly curling upwards in the calm air. I could scarcely believe my senses, but stopped gazing at it,
as though I were in a dream; then, with throbbing pulse and giddy brain, I seized my paddle, and strained every
nerve to reach it.

`A few strokes seemed to carry me across the bay, and, securing my canoe, I leaped upon the rock, on which the
beacon was blazing, but not a sign of a human being could I see. I was about to shout, for as the fire had
evidently been recently piled up, I knew the stranger could not be far off; but, before I could do so, I saw a
slight figure passing along the chain of rocks towards the spot on which I stood. You may all imagine my

`I advanced a few paces; and then mastering my emotion as best I could, I said, in English:

"Welcome, fair stranger! God, in His mercy, has heard your call, and has sent me to your aid!"

`Miss Montrose came quickly forward--'

`Who? What?' shouted the boys, interrupting the narrative. `Who came forward?' and amid a general hubbub,
Ernest, rising and advancing to his brother, said in his quiet way:

`I did not like to make any remark till you actually let out the secret, Fritz, but we need no longer pretend not to
see through the disguise of Edward Montrose.'

Fritz, though much disconcerted by the discovery of the secret, recovered his self-possession; and, after bearing
with perfect equanimity the jokes with which his brothers assailed him, joined in three cheers for their new
sister, and when the confusion and laughter which ensued had subsided, continued his story.

`Miss Montrose grasped my hands warmly, and guessing from my pronunciation, I am afraid, that I was not in
the habit of speaking English every day of my life, said in French:

`"Long, long, have I waited since the bird returned with your message. Thank God, you have come at last!"

`Then, with tears of joy and gratitude, she led me to the shore, where she had built a hut and a safe sleeping-
place, like Falconhurst on a small scale, among the branches of a tree. I was delighted with all she showed me,
for indeed her hut and its fittings evinced no ordinary skill and ingenuity. Round the walls hung bows, arrows,
lances and bird-snares; while on her work-table, in boxes and cases, carved skilfully with a knife, were fish-
hooks of mother-of-pearl, needles made from fishbones, and bodkins from the beaks of birds, fishing-lines
of all sorts, and knives and other tools.

These latter she told me were, with a chest of wearing apparel, almost the only things washed ashore after the
wreck, when three years ago she was cast alone upon this desolate coast. I marvelled more and more at the
wonderful way in which this girl had surmounted obstacles, the quarter of which would completely have
appalled the generality of her sex.

The hut itself was a marvel of skill; stout posts had been driven into the ground, with cross pieces of bamboo, to
form a framework; the walls had then been woven with reeds, the roof thatched with palm-leaves, and the whole
plastered smoothly with clay, an open space being left in the centre of the roof for a chimney to carry off the
smoke of the fire.

`As we entered, a cormorant, with a cry of anger, flew from under the table towards me, and was about to attack
me fiercely. Miss Montrose called it off, and she then told me she had captured and tamed the bird soon after
first landing, and since that time had contrived to train it to assist her in every conceivable way: it now not only
was a pleasant companion, but brought her food of every description, fish, flesh and fowl, for whether it dived
into the waters, according to its natural habit, struck down birds upon the wing, or seized rabbits and other
small animals upon the land, it laid all its booty at her feet. `Before darkness closed in, all the curiosities and
ingenious contrivances of the place had been displayed the kitchen-stove, cooking utensils, skin bottles, shell
plates and spoons, the fishing raft, and numberless other things--and then, sitting down with my fair hostess to a
most appetizing meal, she gave me a short account of her life:

`Jenny Montrose was the daughter of a British officer who had served for many years in India, where she
herself was born. At the early age of three years she lost her mother.

`After the death of his wife, all the Colonel's love and care was centred upon his only child; under his eye she
was instructed in all the accomplishments suited to her sex; and from him she imbibed an ardent love of field
sports. By the time she was seventeen she was as much at home upon her horse in the field as in her father's

`Colonel Montrose now received orders to return home with his regiment and as, for certain reasons, he did not
wish her to accompany him in the ship with the troops, he obtained a passage for her on board a vessel which
was about to sail at the same time.

`The separation was extremely painful to both the old soldier and his daughter, but there was no alternative.
They parted, and Miss Montrose sailed in the Dorcas for England. A week after she had left Calcutta, a storm
arose and drove the vessel far out of her course; more bad weather ensued; and at length, leaks having been
sprung in all directions, the crew were obliged to take to the boats.

Jenny obtained a place in one of the largest of these. After enduring the perils of the sea for many days, land
was sighted; and, the other boats having disappeared, an attempt was made to land. The boat was capsized, and
Miss Montrose alone reached the shore. For a long time she lay upon the sand almost inanimate; but, reviving
sufficiently to move, she at length obtained some shellfish, and by degrees recovered her strength.

From that time forth until I appeared she never set eyes upon a human being. To attract any passing vessel, and
obtain assistance, however, she kept a beacon continually blazing at the end of the reef; and, with the same
purpose in view, attached missives to the feet of any birds she could take alive in her snares. The albatross, she
told me, she had kept for some time and partially tamed; but, as it was in the habit of making long excursions on
its own account, she conceived the idea of sending it also with a message, that, should it by chance be seen and
taken alive, it might return with an answer.
`Our supper was over; and, at length, both wearied out with the anxieties and excitement of the day, we retired
to rest, she to her leafy bower, and I to sleep in the hut below.

`Next morning, having packed her belongings in the cajack, we both went on board; and bidding adieu to her
well-known bay she took her seat before me, and I made for home.

`We should have reached Rockburg this evening had not an accident occurred to our skiff and compelled us to
put in at this island. The boat was scarcely repaired when I heard your first shots. I instantly disguised myself;
and, never doubting that Malay pirates were near, came forth to reconnoitre. Glad, indeed, I was to find my
fears ungrounded.'

All had listened attentively to Fritz's story, but now a dreadful yawn from Franz, followed by others from Jack,
Ernest and Fritz, and a great desire on my own part to follow their example, warned me that it was time to
dismiss the party for the night. Fritz retired to his cajack, the boys and I to the deck of the yacht, and the
remainder of the night passed quietly away.

Next morning as we assembled for breakfast I took the opportunity of begging Miss Montrose no longer to
attempt to continue her disguise, but to allow us to address her in her real character.

Jenny smiled; for she had noticed as the young men met her when she came from the cabin, a great alteration in
their manner, and had at once seen that her secret was guessed.

`After all,' she said, `I need not be ashamed of this attire; it has been my only costume for the last three years,
and in any other I should have been unable to manage all the work which during that time has been necessary.'

Our pleasant meal over, I prepared to start for home, but Fritz reminded me of the cachalot, and although he
confessed he should not care to repeat the operation of cutting up a whale, he thought it would be a pity to lose
such a chance of obtaining a supply of spermaceti.

I fully agreed with him; and embarking, we quickly reached the sandbank on which the monster lay. No sooner
did we come near than the dogs leaped ashore, and before we could follow, rushed round to the other side of the
great beast; snarling, growling and howling ensued, and when we reached the spot we found a terrific combat
going on. A troop of wolves were disputing fiercely with the dogs their right to the prey.

Our appearance, however, quickly settled the matter; two of the brutes already lay dead, and those that now
escaped our guns, galloped off. Amongst the pack were a few jackals, and no sooner did Coco catch sight
of these, his relations, than, suddenly attracted by his instinct, he left his master's side, and in spite of our shouts
and cries, joined them and disappeared into the forest.

As it would have been useless and dangerous to attempt to follow the deserter into the woods, we left him alone,
trusting that he would return before we again embarked. Fritz then climbed up the mountain of flesh, and with
his hatchet quickly laid open the huge skull; Jack and Franz joined him--Ernest having remained on the island,
where we had left my wife and Jenny--and with buckets assisted him to bail out the spermaceti.

The few vessels we possessed were soon full, and having stored them in the yacht, we once more embarked and
arrived at the little island shortly before the dinner-hour.

A capital meal had been prepared for us and, when we had made ourselves presentable, we sat down to it, and
related our adventures. The account of Coco's desertion was received with exclamations of surprise and sorrow.
`Yet,' said Jenny, after a time, `I do not think you should despair of his recovery, for animals in their native state
seldom care to allow those that have been once domesticated to consort with them.
`My poor albatross even, though he was never thoroughly tamed, and certainly did finally desert me, yet used to
return at intervals; and I am pretty sure that were you, Jack, to search the wood early tomorrow morning, you
would find your pet only too willing to come back to civilized life; or, if you like, I will go myself and find him,
for I should immensely like to have a paddle in the cajack all by myself.'

Jack was delighted at the former suggestion, and though he would not listen for a moment to Jenny's request to
be allowed to go alone, he agreed, if she cared for the fun of an early cruise, to accompany her in the canoe next
morning, and to return to the yacht in time to start for Rockburg.

At sunrise they were off, armed with `bait' in the shape of meat and biscuit, and a muzzle and chain which Jack
had manufactured in the evening to punish the runagate for his offences, should they catch him. Arrived at the
sandbank, they landed; and, after entering the forest and shouting `Coco, Coco!' till the woods rang again, they
presently espied the truant, slouching disconsolately towards them, looking very miserable and heartily
ashamed of himself.

With torn ears, and coat ruffled and dirty, he sneaked up. There was no need to use the bait to entice him; and
when the poor beast thus came, unhappy and begging forgiveness, Jack had not the heart to degrade him
further with the muzzle and chain. He had evidently attempted to join his wild brethren, and by them had been
scouted, worried, and hustled, as no true jackal; and, as Jenny had foretold, was now only too glad to return to
bondage and to comfort.

Poor Coco had recovered his spirits slightly by the time the yacht was reached; and, after a hearty meal, again
took his place amongst the dogs, whom I had little doubt he would never again desert.

All was now bustle and activity; and breakfast over, we went aboard the yacht. Fritz and Jack stepped into the
canoe; and we soon left Fair Isle and Pearl Bay far behind.

The morning was delightful. The sea, excepting for the slight ripple raised by the gentle breeze wafting us
homewards, was perfectly calm. Slowly and contentedly we glided on through the wonders of the splendid
archway, threaded our passage amongst the rocks and shoals, and passed out to the open sea. So slowly did we
make our way, that the occupants of the cajack announced that they could not wait for us when they had once
piloted us out from amongst the shoals and reefs, and plied their paddles to such good purpose that they were
soon out of sight.

Nautilus Bay and Cape Pug-Nose were in due time passed, however, and Shark Island hove in sight. With great
astonishment Jenny gazed at our watch-tower, with its guard-house, the fierce-looking guns, and the waving
flag upon the heights. We landed, that she might visit the fortification; then we displayed all our arrangements
with great pride. When they and the herd of lovely gazelles had been sufficiently admired, we again embarked,
and steered towards Safety Bay. On reaching the entrance, a grand salute of twelve shots welcomed us and our
fair guest to Rockburg. Not pleased with the even number, however, Ernest insisted upon replying with thirteen
guns, an odd number being, he declared, absolutely necessary for form's sake.

As we neared the quay, Fritz and Jack stood ready to receive us, and with true politeness handed their mother
and Jenny ashore.

They turned and led the way to the house through the gardens, orchards and shrubberies which lay on the rising
ground that sloped gently upwards to our dwelling.

Jenny's surprise was changed to wonder as she neared the villa itself--its broad, shady balcony, its fountains
sparkling in the sun, the dove-cots, the pigeons wheeling above, and the bright, fresh creepers twined round the
columns, delighted her. She could scarcely believe that she was still far from any civilized nation, and that she
was amongst a family wrecked like herself upon a lonely coast.

My amazement, however, fully equalled that of my little daughter when beneath the shade of the verandah I saw
a table laid out with a delicious luncheon. All our china, silver and glass had been called into requisition, and
was arranged upon the spotless damask cloth.

Wine sparkled in the decanters, splendid pineapples, oranges, guavas, apples and pears, resting on cool green
leaves, lay heaped in pyramids upon the porcelain dishes. A haunch of venison, cold fowl, ham, and tongues
occupied the ends and sides of the table, while in the centre rose a vase of gay flowers, surrounded by bowls of
milk and great jugs of mead. It was, indeed, a perfect feast, and the heartiness of the welcome brought tears of
joy into the lovely eyes of the fair girl in whose honour it had been devised.

All were soon ready to sit down; and Jenny, looking prettier than ever in the dress for which she had exchanged
her sailor's suit, took the place of honour between my wife and me. Ernest and Franz also seated themselves; but
nothing would induce Fritz and Jack to follow their example. They considered themselves our entertainers, and
waited upon us most attentively, carving the joints, filling our glasses, and changing the plates; for, as Jack
declared to Miss Montrose, the servants had all run away in our absence, and for the next day or two, perhaps,
we should be obliged to wait upon ourselves.

When the banquet was over, and the waiters had satisfied their appetites, they joined their brothers, and with
them displayed all the wonders of Rockburg to their new sister. To the house, cave, stables, gardens, fields and
boat-houses, to one after the other did they lead her.

Not a corner would they have left unnoticed, had not my wife, fearing they would tire the poor girl out, come to
the rescue, and led her back to the house.

On the following day, after an early breakfast, we started, while it was yet cool, for Falconhurst; and as I knew
that repairs and arrangements for the coming winter would be necessary and would detain us for several days,
we took with us a supply of tools, as well as baskets of provisions and other things essential to our comfort.

The whole of our stud, excepting the ostrich, were in their paddocks, near the tree; but Jack, saying that his
mother and Jenny really must not walk the whole way, to the great amusement of the latter, leaped on Hurry,
and fled away in front of us. Before we had accomplished one quarter of the distance, we heard the thundering
tread of many feet galloping down the avenue, and presently espied our motley troop of steeds being driven
furiously towards us.

Storm, Lightfoot, Swift, Grumble, Stentor, Arrow and Dart were there, with Jack, on his fleet two-legged
courser, at their heels. At his saddle-bow hung a cluster of saddles and bridles, the bits all jangling and clanking,
adding to the din and confusion, and urging on the excited animals, who thoroughly entered into the fun, and
with tails in the air, ears back, and heels ever and anon thrown playfully out, seemed about to overwhelm us.

We stepped aside to shelter ourselves behind the trees from the furious onset; but a shout from Fritz brought the
whole herd to a sudden halt, and Jack spurred towards us.

`Which of the cattle shall we saddle for you, Jenny?' he shouted. `They're all as gentle as lambs, and as active as
cats. Every one has been ridden by mother; and knows what a side-saddle means, so you can't go wrong.'

To his great delight, Jenny quickly showed her appreciation of the merits of the steeds by picking out Dart, the
fleetest and most spirited in the whole stud.
The ostrich was then relieved of his unusual burden, the animals were speedily equipped, and Lightfoot bearing
the baskets and hampers, the whole party mounted and trotted forwards. Jenny was delighted with her palfrey,
and henceforward he was reserved for her special use.

The work at Falconhurst, as I had expected, occupied us for some time and it was a week before we could again
return to Rockburg.

Yet the time passed pleasantly; for though the young men were busy from morning to night, the presence of
their new companion, her lively spirits and gay conversation, kept them in constant good humour.

When the repairs were all finished we remained yet a day or two longer, that we might make excursions in
various directions to bring in poultry from Woodlands, stores of acorns for the pigs, and grass, willows and
canes, to be manufactured during the winter into mats, baskets, hurdles and hen-coops.

Many a shower wetted us through during these days, and we had scarcely time to hurry back to Rockburg and
house our cattle and possessions before the annual deluge began.

Never before had this dreary season seemed so short and pleasant; with Jenny amongst us the usual feeling of
weariness and discontent never appeared; the English language was quickly acquired by all hands, Fritz, in
particular, speaking it so well that Jenny declared she could scarcely believe he was not an Englishman. She
herself already spoke French, and therefore easily learned our native language and spoke it fluently before we
were released from our captivity.
                                               Chapter 18
Many wondrous tales were told or read in turn by the boys and Jenny during the long evenings as we sat
drawing, weaving and plaiting in our rosy study. In fact this winter was a truly happy time, and when at
length the rain ceased and the bright sun again smiled upon the face of nature, we could scarcely believe, as we
stepped forth and once more felt the balmy breath of spring, that, for so many weeks, we had been prisoners
within our rocky walls.

All was once more activity and life; the duties in field, garden and orchard called forth the energy of the lads,
whilst their mother and sister found abundant occupation in the poultry-yard and house.

Our various settlements and stations required attention. Falconhurst, Woodlands, Prospect Hill, Shark and
Whale Islands were in turn visited and set in order. The duty of attending to the island battery fell to Jack and

They had been busy all day repairing the flagstaff, rehoisting the flag, and cleaning and putting into working
order the two guns. Evening was drawing on and our day's work over; the rest of us were strolling up and down
upon the beach enjoying the cool sea breeze. We watched the lads as they completed their work. They loaded
and ran out their guns and, paddling off with an empty tub in the cajack, placed it out to sea as a mark for
practice. They returned and fired, and the barrel flew in pieces; with a shout of triumph, they cleaned the guns
and ran them in.

Scarcely had they done so when, as though in answer to their shots, came the sound of three guns booming
across the water from the westward.

We stopped, speechless. Was it fancy? Had we really heard guns from a strange ship? Or had the boys again
fired? No! There were the lads leaping into their canoe and paddling in hot haste towards us. They, too, had
heard the sound.

A tumult of feelings rushed over us--anxiety, joy, hope, doubt, each in turn took possession of our minds. Was it
a European vessel close upon our shores, and were we about to be linked once more to civilized life? Or did
those sounds proceed from a Malay pirate, who would rob and murder us? What was to be the result of meeting
with our fellow beings; were they to be friends who would help us, enemies who would attack us, or would they
prove unfortunate creatures in need of our assistance? Who could tell?

Before we could express these thoughts in words the cajack had touched the shore, and Jack and Franz were
among us.

`Did you hear them? Did you hear them?' they gasped. `What shall we do? Where shall we go?'

`Oh, Fritz,' continued my youngest son, `it must be a European ship. We shall find her. We shall see our
Fatherland once more,' and, in an emotion of joy, he grasped his brother's hands.

Till then I knew not what a craving for civilized life had been aroused in the two young men by the appearance
of their European sister.

All eyes were turned towards me. What would I advise?
`At present,' I said, `we can do nothing, for night is drawing on. We must make what preparation we can, and
pray for guidance.' In the greatest excitement we returned to the house, all talking eagerly, and till late no one
could be persuaded to retire to rest.

Few slept that night. The boys and I took it in turn to keep watch from the verandah, lest more signals might be
fired, or a hostile visit might be paid us. But about midnight the wind began to rise, and before we reassembled
to discuss our plans a fearful storm was raging; so terrific was the sea that I knew no boat could live, and had a
broadside been fired at the entrance of the Bay we should not have heard it through the howling of the blast.

For two days and two nights the hurricane continued, but on the third day the sun again appeared, and, the wind
lulling, the sea went rapidly down. Full of anxiety I readily complied with the boys' desire to put off to Shark
Island and discharge the guns; for who could tell what had been the result of the gale; perhaps the vessel had
been driven upon the rocky shore or, fearing such a fate, she had left the coast and weathered the storm out at
sea; if so she might never return.

With these thoughts I accompanied Jack and Franz to the fort. One--two--we fired the guns and waited.

For some minutes there was no reply, and then an answering report rolled in the distance. There was no longer
room for doubt; the strangers were still in the vicinity, and were aware of our presence. We waved the flag as a
signal to those on shore that all was well, and quickly returned. We found the whole family in a state of the
greatest excitement, and I felt it necessary to calm them down as much as possible, for neither could I answer
the questions with which I was besieged, nor could I conceal the fact that the visit of the vessel might not prove
so advantageous as they expected.

Fritz and I at once prepared to make a reconnaissance; we armed ourselves with our guns, pistols and cutlasses,
took a spy-glass, seated ourselves in the cajack and, with a parting entreaty from my wife to be cautious,
paddled out of the bay and round the high cliffs on our left. For nearly an hour we advanced in the direction
from which the reports of the guns seemed to proceed. Nothing could we see, however, but the frowning rocks
and cliffs, and the waves beating restlessly at their base. Cape Pug-Nose was reached, and we began to round
the bluff old point.

In a moment all our doubts were dispelled, and joy and gratitude to the Great Giver of all good filled our hearts.
There, in the little sheltered cove beyond the cape, her sails furled, and anchor dropped, lay a brig-of-war with
the English colours at her masthead. With the glass I could discern figures upon the deck and, upon the
shore beyond, several tents pitched under the shelter of the trees, and the smoke of fires rising amongst them.
As I handed the glass to Fritz, I felt a sudden misgiving. `What,' said I to myself, `can this English vessel be
doing thus far from the usual track of ships?' and I called to mind tales of mutinous crews who have risen
against their officers, have chosen some such sheltered retreat as this; have disguised the vessel, and then sailed
forth to rob and plunder upon the high seas.

Fritz then exclaimed, `I can see the captain, father, he is speaking to one of the officers, and I can see his face
quite well; he is English, I am certain he is English, and the flag speaks the truth!' and he put the glass again in
my hand that I might see for myself.

Still keeping under the shelter of the cliff, I carefully surveyed the vessel. There was no doubt that Fritz was
right, and my fears were once more dispelled; all was neatness and regularity on board; the spotless decks, the
burnished steel and brass, and the air of perfect order which pervaded both ship and camp, betokened that
authority and discipline there reigned.

For some minutes longer we continued our examination of the scene, and then satisfied by the appearance of the
camp on shore, that there was no chance of the brig quitting the coast for several days, we resolved to return
without betraying our presence, for I was unwilling to appear before these strangers until we could do so in
better form, and in a manner more in accordance with our actual resources.

We again landed at Rockburg, where our family awaited our arrival in eager expectation, and as fully as
possible we told them of all we had seen. They thoroughly approved of our caution, and even Jenny, whose
hopes had been excited to the highest pitch by our description of the English vessel, and who longed to meet her
countrymen once more, agreed to postpone the visit until the following day, when, having put our yacht into
good order, we might pay our respects to the captain, not as poor shipwrecked creatures begging assistance, but
as lords and masters of the land, seeking to know for what purpose strangers were visiting the coast.

The rest of the day was occupied in making our preparations. Our dainty little craft was made to look her very
best; her decks were scrubbed, her brass guns burnished, all lumber removed and put ashore, and the flag of
England hoisted to her peak.

My wife overhauled our wardrobes, and the neatest uniforms were put ready for the boys and me, for though
neither my wife nor Jenny had ever dreamed of appearing otherwise than they would have done, had they
been at home amongst civilized people in Europe, yet we, accustomed daily to rough and often even dirty work,
had adopted just that costume which best suited our comfort and inclination. We should indeed have surprised
the smart man-o'-war's men, had we appeared in our great shapeless wide-brimmed hats, our linen coats and
trousers, our broad leathern belts and hairy buskins; so we next day readily donned the more becoming

At the break of that eventful morn, when we were destined once more to set our eyes upon our fellow men, and
to hear news of the outer world, from which for so many years we had been exiled, we assembled in our little
breakfast-room. The meal was eaten hurriedly and almost in silence, for our hearts were too full, and our minds
too busily occupied, to allow of any outward display of excitement. Fritz and Jack then slipped quietly out, and
presently returned from the garden with baskets of the choicest fruits in fresh and fragrant profusion, and with
these, as presents for the strangers, we went on board our yacht.

The anchor was weighed, the sails set, and with the canoe in tow the little vessel, as though partaking of our
hopes and joyous expectation, bounded merrily over the waters of Safety Bay, gave a wide berth to the Reef,
against whose frowning rocks the sea still lashed itself to foam, and kept away for the cove, where the English
ship unconsciously awaited us. The Pug-nosed Cape was reached, and to the surprise and utter amazement of
the strangers, we rounded the point and brought up within hail.

Every eye on board and on shore was turned towards us, every glass was produced and fixed upon our motions;
for of all the strange sights which the gallant crew may have looked for, such an anomaly as a pleasure yacht,
manned by such a party as ours, and cruising upon this strange and inhospitable shore, was the furthest from
their thoughts.

Fritz and I stepped into our boat, and pulled for the brig. In another minute we were upon her deck. The captain,
with the simple frankness of a British seaman, welcomed us cordially, and having led us into his cabin, begged
us to explain to what good fortune he owed a visit from residents upon a coast generally deemed uninhabited, or
the abode of the fiercest savages.

I gave him an outline of the history of the wreck, and of our sojourn upon these shores, and spoke to him, too,
of Miss Montrose, and of the providential way in which we had been the means of rescuing her from her lonely

`Then,' said the gallant officer, rising and grasping Fritz by the hand, `let me heartily thank you in my own
name, and in that of Colonel Montrose; for it was the hope of finding some trace of that brave girl that led me to
these shores. The disappearance of the Dorcas has been a terrible blow to the Colonel, and yet, though for three
years no word of her or of any of those who sailed in her has reached England, he has never entirely abandoned
all hope of again hearing of his daughter. I knew this, and a few weeks ago, when I was about to leave Sydney
for the Cape, I found three men who declared themselves survivors of the Dorcas, and said that their boat, of
four which left the wreck, was the only one which, to their knowledge, reached land in safety.

`From them I learned all particulars, and applying for permission to cruise in these latitudes, I sailed in the
hopes of finding further traces of the unfortunate crew. My efforts have been rewarded by unlooked-for

Fritz replied most modestly to the praises which he received, and then the captain begged to be introduced to
my wife and Miss Montrose.

`And,' he continued, `if it be not contrary to your rules of discipline, for the whole ship's company to be absent
at once, I will now send a boat for the remainder of your party.'

One of the officers was accordingly dispatched to the yacht with a polite message, and the mother, Jenny, and
the three boys were presently on board.

Our kind host greeted them most warmly, and he and his officers vied with one another in doing us honour.
They proved, indeed, most pleasant entertainers, and the time passed rapidly away.

At luncheon the captain told us that there had sailed with him from Sydney an invalid gentleman, Mr. Wolston,
his wife, and two daughters; but that though the sea voyage had been recommended on account of his health,
yet it had not done Mr. Wolston so much good as had been anticipated, and he had suffered so greatly from the
effects of the storm which had driven the Unicorn into the bay for repairs, that he had been eager to rest for a
short time on land.

We were anxious to meet the family, and in the afternoon it was decided that we should pay them a visit. Tents
had been pitched for their accommodation under the shady trees, and when we landed we found Mr. Wolston
seated by one of them, enjoying the cool sea-breeze. He and his family were delighted to see us, and so much
did we enjoy their society, that evening found us still upon the shore. It was too late then to return to Rockburg,
and the captain kindly offered tents for the accommodation of those who could not find room in the yacht. The
boys spent the night on land.

That night I had a long and serious consultation with my wife, as to whether or not we really had any well-
grounded reason for wishing to return to Europe. It would be childish to undertake a voyage thither simply
because an opportunity offered for doing so.

Neither knew to what decision the feelings of the other inclined; each was afraid of expressing what might run
counter to those feelings; but gradually it began to appear that neither entertained any strong wish to leave the
peaceful island; and finally we discovered that the real wish which lay at the bottom of both our hearts was to
adopt New Switzerland as thenceforward our home.

What can be more delightful than to find harmony of opinion in those we love, when a great and momentous
decision has to be taken?

My dear wife assured me that she desired nothing more earnestly than to spend the rest of her days in a place to
which she had become so much attached, provided I, and at least two of her sons, also wished to remain.

From the other two she would willingly part, if they chose to return to Europe, with the understanding that they
must endeavour to send out emigrants of a good class to join us, and form a prosperous colony, adding that she
thought the island ought to continue to bear the name of our native country, even if inhabited in future time by
colonists from England, as well as from Switzerland.

I heartily approved of this excellent idea, and we agreed to mention it, while consulting with Captain Littlestone
on the subject of placing the island under the protection of Great Britain.

Then came the question as to which of our sons were best suited to remain with us, and which to go away.

This point we left undecided, thinking that in the course of a few days, they would probably make a choice of
their own accord, which they did, even sooner than we anticipated. After breakfast, it was proposed that Captain
Littlestone should bring his ship round to Safety Bay, that we might receive a visit from him and his party, at
Rockburg--where we invited the invalid, Mr. Wolston, and his family, in hopes that his health might benefit by
a comfortable residence on shore.

No sooner was this plan adopted, than Fritz and Jack hurried off in the canoe to prepare for their reception,
being followed in more leisurely style by the brig and our yacht.

But what words can express the amazement of our guests, when, rounding the Rocky Cape at the entrance,
Safety Bay, and the beautiful domain of Rockburg, lay before them.

Still greater was their astonishment, as a salute of eleven guns boomed from the battery on Shark Island, where
the royal standard of England was displayed and floated majestically on the morning breeze.

A glow of surprise and pleasure beamed on every countenance, and poor Wolston's spirits appeared to revive
with the very idea of the peace and happiness to be enjoyed in such a home.

He was carried on shore with the utmost care and tenderness, and comfortably established in my room, a camp-
bed for Mrs. Wolston being added to the furniture there, that she might be able conveniently to attend on her

Meantime the scene at the harbour and all round Rockburg was of the liveliest description; merriment and
excitement prevailed in all directions, as the beauties and wonders of our residence were explored, so that a
summons to dinner scarcely attracted notice.

However, as a visit to Falconhurst was projected, the company was at length induced to be seated, and to
partake of our good cheer, but the spirit of restlessness soon returned, and the young people kept roaming
about through our hitherto quiet lawns, avenues and shrubberies, until I was ready to believe their number three
times what it actually was.

Towards evening the universal excitement began to abate, and the party assembled for supper with tolerable

Mr. Wolston was able to join us, as the rest he had enjoyed, and the pleasure inspired by the hope of a residence
among us, seemed to have given him new life. This wish he now distinctly expressed in his own name, and in
that of his wife; inquiring what our intentions were, and proposing, if agreeable to us, that they, with their eldest
daughter, whose health, like his own, was delicate, should make a long stay on the island, while the younger
daughter went for the present to her brother at the Cape of Good Hope.

In the event of his ultimately deciding to settle altogether among us, Mr. Wolston would propose that his son
should leave the Cape, and join our colony.
With sincere satisfaction, I welcomed this proposal, saying that it was my wish and that of my wife to remain
for the rest of our days in New Switzerland.

`Hurrah for New Switzerland! New Switzerland for ever!' shouted the whole company enthusiastically, as they
raised their glasses, and made them touch with a musical ring, which so expressively denotes a joyful unanimity
of sentiment.

`Prosperity to New Switzerland; long may she flourish,' echoed on all sides.

`Long life and happiness to those who make New Switzerland their home!' added Ernest to my great surprise,
leaning forward as he spoke, to ring his glass with mine, his mother's and Mr. Wolston's.

`Won't somebody wish long life and prosperity to those who go away?' inquired Jenny with a pretty arch look.
`Much as I long to return to England and my father, my inclination will waver if all the cheers are for New

`Three cheers for England and Colonel Montrose,' cried Fritz, `success and happiness to us who return to
Europe!' and while the vaulted roofs rang with the cheering elicited by this toast, a glance from Jenny showed
him how much she thanked him for appreciating her wish to return to her father, notwithstanding her attachment
to our family.

`Well,' said I, when silence was restored, `since Fritz resolves to go to England, he must undertake for me the
duty of bringing happiness to a mourning father by restoring to him this dear daughter, whom I have been ready
to regard as my own, by right of finding her cast on the shores of my island.

`Ernest chooses to remain with me. His mother and I rejoice heartily in this decision, and promise him all the
highest scientific appointments in our power to bestow.

`And now what is Jack's choice? The only talent I can say he possesses is that of a comic actor, and to shine on
the stage he must needs go to Europe.'

`Jack is not going to Europe, however,' was his reply. `He means to stay here, and when Fritz is gone, he will be
the best rider, and the best shot in New Switzerland, which is the summit of his ambition.

`The fact is,' he continued, laughing, `I rather stand in awe of their European schools, and should expect to find
myself caught and clapped into one, if I ventured too near them.'

`A good school is exactly what I want,' said Franz. `Among a number of students there is some emulation and
enthusiasm, and I shall have a chance of rising in the world.

`Fritz will probably return here some day; but it might be well for one member of the family to go home with
the intention of remaining there altogether, and as I am the youngest, I could more easily than the rest, adapt
myself to a different life. My father, however, will decide for me.'

`You may go, my dear son,' I replied, `and God bless all our plans and resolutions. The whole earth is the
Lord's, and where, as in his sight, you lead good and useful lives, there is your home.

`And now that I know your wishes, the only question is, whether Captain Littlestone will kindly enable you to
carry them out?'

All eyes were fixed eagerly upon him, and after a moment's pause the gallant officer spoke as follows:
`I think my way in this matter is perfectly clear, and I consider that I have been providentially guided to be the
means of once more placing this family in communication with their friends and with the civilized world.

`My orders were to search for a shipwrecked crew.

`Survivors from two wrecks have been discovered.

`Three passengers express a wish to leave my ship here, instead of at the Cape, while, at the same time, I am
requested to give to three persons a passage to England.

`Could anything suit better? I am most willing to undertake the charge of those who may be committed to my

`Every circumstance has been wonderfully ordered and linked together by Divine Providence, and if England
gains a prosperous and happy colony, it will prove a fitting clasp to this fortunate chain of events. Three
cheers for New Switzerland.'

Deep emotion stirred every heart as the party separated for the night. Many felt that they were suddenly
standing on the threshold of a new wife, while, for myself a weight was rolled from my heart, and I thanked
God that a difficulty was solved which, for years, had oppressed me with anxiety.

After this nothing was thought of but making preparations for the departure of the dear ones bound for England.
Captain Littlestone allowed as much time as he could spare; but it was necessarily short, so that incessant
movement and industry pervaded the settlement for several days.

Everything was provided and packed up that could in any way add to our children's comfort on the voyage, or
benefit them after their arrival in England, and a large share of my possessions in pearls, corals, furs, spices and
other valuables would enable them to take a good position in the world of commerce.

I committed to their care private papers, money, and jewels which I knew to have been the personal property of
the captain of our ill-fated ship, desiring them to hand them over, if possible, to his heirs. A short account of the
wreck, with the names of the crew, a list of which I had found, was given to Captain Littlestone.

His ship, the Unicorn, was amply stored by us with fresh provisions, fish, vegetables and fruit, for in our
gratitude to him for his kindness and sympathy, we felt ready to offer every possible assistance.

In a long conversation with my sons I solemnly charged them with the future responsibilities of their life, in all
its varied aspects, of duty towards God, their fellow men, and themselves, pointing out the temptations to which
their different characters were likely to expose them, and exhorting them affectionately to hold fast to the faith
in which they had been brought up.

Fritz, having previously made known to me, what indeed was very evident, the attachment between himself and
Jenny, I advised him to mention it to Colonel Montrose as soon as possible after being introduced to him, and
ask for his sanction to their engagement.

I on my part, gladly bestowing mine, as did his mother, who loved the sweet girl dearly, and heartily grieved to
part with her.

On the evening before our separation, I gave to Fritz the journal in which, ever since the shipwreck, I had
chronicled the events of our life, desiring that the story might be printed and published. `It was written, as you
well know,' said I, `for the instruction and amusement of my children, but it is very possible that it may be
useful to other young people.
`Children are, on the whole, very much alike everywhere, and you four lads fairly represent multitudes, who are
growing up in all directions. It will make me happy to think that my simple narrative may lead some of these to
observe how blessed are the results of patient continuance in well-doing, what benefits arise from the thoughtful
application of knowledge and science, and how good and pleasant a thing it is when brethren dwell together in
unity, under the eyes of parental love.'

Night has closed around me.

For the last time my united family slumbers beneath my care. Tomorrow this closing chapter of my journal will
pass into the hands of my eldest son.

From afar I greet thee, Europe!

I greet thee, dear old Switzerland!

Like thee, may New Switzerland flourish and prosper--good, happy and free!

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